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February 10, 2009

Singapore to spend S$90m to revive tourism

The Singapore Tourism Board will roll out a S$90m initiative to stimulate demand in the tourism sector, reported the city state’s news agency Channel News Asia.

Speaking in the Committee of Supply debate, Senior Minister of State for Trade and Industry, S Iswaran, told Parliament that the new initiative is called Building On Opportunities to Strengthen Tourism, or BOOST.

Iswaran said the key initiative under BOOST is a marketing campaign with the theme "2009 Reasons To Enjoy Singapore".

He said: "Travel patterns are expected to change in the current climate with a switch from long-haul to shorter-haul holidays. The campaign will target this potential higher intra-regional traffic from our key regional markets.

"STB will also reach out to our resident population as a complementary strategy to generate additional demand for our tourism sector."

In addition, STB will continue to work on attracting more events to Singapore over the next two years.

It will target MICE events that are aligned to Singapore's economic priorities such as digital media and environmental technology as well as other specific segments that are resilient in the global downturn.

As part of BOOST, STB will also provide more support for businesses to train and upgrade the skills of their employees under the Training Industry Professionals in Tourism scheme.

Singapore expects visitor arrivals to drop as much as 11 percent this year as the global recession curtails consumer spending and holiday plans.

Iswaran said 2009 will be a difficult year for the global tourism industry and that tourist arrivals may fall to between 9 and 9-and-a-half million this year. Tourist arrivals fell 1.6 percent to 10.1 million last year.

Total tourism receipts generated are also expected to fall to a range of S$12b to S$12.5b this year, down from S$14.8b in 2008.

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