STB steps up support for tourism

SINGAPORE, 4 February 2020: Singapore Tourism Board introduced measures to help tourism businesses combat the impact of the 2019 novel coronavirus (nCoV) at the weekend.

 STB said it would waive licence fees for hotels, travel agents and tourist guides, and defray enhanced cleaning costs of hotels that provided accommodation to confirmed and suspected cases of nCoV infections.

The tourism sector has already been directly impacted by nCoV, due to a decline in visitor arrivals, especially from China.

Chinese tourists account for around 20% of Singapore’s international visitor arrivals, with about 3.6 million visitors in 2019.

Mr Keith Tan, Chief Executive of Singapore Tourism Board chief executive Keith Tan said: ” We know the situation is likely to persist and recognise we need to move quickly to support the industry and build confidence. STB will continue to identify targeted and effective ways to support the tourism industry so that they are well-positioned to grow once we start to recover.”

As part of this initial package, hotels that provided accommodation to suspected and confirmed cases of nCoV infections will get help with their environmental cleaning and disinfection costs.

STB will cover up to 50% of third-party professional cleaning fees, capped at SGD20,000 per establishment for hotels with confirmed cases; and SGD10,000 per establishment for hotels with suspected cases. This will be backdated to 23 January, when the first case of nCoV infection in Singapore was detected. Applications will open until 30 April, following which STB will assess the situation to see if further support is required.

The Hotels Licensing Board will waive licence fees for hotels for the rest of 2020. Similarly, travel agents and tourist guides whose licenses are due for renewal in 2020 will not need to pay to renew their licence fees.

Full details of the overall package of relief measures will be announced as part of the Budget 2020 on 18 February.