Imagine a Singapore bustling with tourists pre-Covid-19

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STB launches platform to help shape future of tourism as study shows travellers perceive Singapore as safe

Confidence in overseas travel is growing among Singapore's traditional top sources of visitors, with three in four leisure travellers and nine in 10 business travellers indicating they are likely to go abroad in the year ahead, a recent survey has found.

The online survey of 14 key markets, commissioned by the Singapore Tourism Board (STB), also found that respondents had a strong perception of Singapore as a safe destination to visit amid the Covid-19 pandemic.

This bodes well for the tourism sector's recovery even though travel restrictions and quarantine rules mean it will likely be some time before demand picks up, Mr Chang Chee Pey, assistant chief executive of STB's international group, told the media yesterday.

Recent breakthroughs on the vaccine front provide some light at the end of the tunnel, although it could still take months or years for vaccines to be distributed globally, he noted.

As part of STB's preparations for the safe and gradual return of international travel, it is launching a platform to help shape the future of tourism.

Called SingapoReimagine, it will kick off with a series of forums here and around the world to share knowledge and exchange ideas on reshaping global travel.

There will also be engagements with stakeholders at home to spur the renewal of Singapore's tourism offerings.

"Covid-19 has devastated our industry, but it has also given us a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity to reset, and re-imagine what travel and tourism should be for the next generation," Mr Chang said during a launch event at Sands Expo and Convention Centre.

STB's assistant chief executive (marketing group) Lynette Pang said travellers of the future are likely to travel less frequently, and would seek greater value and prioritise safety, hygiene and sustainability.

To that end, Singapore's tourism sector is reshaping itself with a focus on robust hygiene and safety standards, technology-driven experiences and integrating nature and urban landscapes, she said.

Examples include contactless touch points, hybrid physical and online events and the upcoming Mandai eco-tourism hub and Jurong Lake District tourism development.

Mr Chang said Marina Bay Sands' newly launched hybrid studio, which hosted about 200 viewers for yesterday's in-person and online event, is also used to beam broadcast-quality visuals and holograms worldwide.

He added: "This is just one example of what we think the future will look like."

The second part of a guide on how meeting, incentive, convention and exhibition (Mice) events can be held safely amid the coronavirus pandemic was also announced yesterday.

It expands on business model development and other capabilities required to help firms in the Mice industry pivot to the hybrid event model.

Dr Edward Koh, STB's executive director of conventions, meetings and incentive travel, said he is optimistic about the direction the travel and tourism industry is taking.

"Cancellations for Mice events have tapered off and we have many events from 2021 onwards that are now waiting to see the protocols that we have in place," he said.