This increased support comes during challenges from domestic labour constraints and growing regional competition.
The Singapore Tourism Board (STB) is setting aside a sum of S$15 million under a new fund to support associations representing tourist hotspots like Orchard Road, Chinatown and Little India. Following the launch of the new Association Development Fund by the Second Minister for Home Affairs and Trade and Industry, S Iswaran, at the Tourism Conference this year, the fund is designed to help boost the numbers and support the drive for quality tourism, increasing the spending from each tourist visiting the country.
"STB is setting aside S$15 million under a new Association Development fund to build capacities in the tourism-facing industry and precinct associations" announced Mr Iswaran. "Our vision is for them to become the key nodes – in the network of collaboration across the tourism industry – that can catalyse quality growth in their respective spheres of influence," he added.
Among those who can benefit from the scheme are those which represent popular tourist hotspots. The initiative aims to help industry associations improve their productivity and capabilities so that businesses can enhance visitor experiences and differentiate Singapore amid growing regional competition.
"We have been supporting them through the events that they organise," said Oliver Chong, executive director of communications and industry marketing at Singapore Tourism Board. "We are going one step further by building a fund that also caters to what they need to do in terms of infrastructure, capabilities and business process development; ensuring that they will be able to do a better job in terms of raising the capabilities of the industry as they are in a better position to identify the gaps and ensuring those gaps are plugged with the right programmes and initiatives."
Singapore welcomed more than 15 million visitors in 2013, up from 14.5 million in 2012 and yet, tourism receipts remained stable at S$23.5 billion last year, growing slightly from S$23 billion the year before. This slower growth in tourist spending comes amid challenges from domestic labour market tightness and rising external competition. The government recognises the need to work to differentiate Singapore from this regional competition.