Tour guides need more targeted help: Society
STGS chairman says plans like those for taxi and private-hire car drivers preferred
Self-employed tourist guides need more help beyond the support measures unveiled during Budget on Tuesday to tide over the Covid-19 crisis, the Society of Tourist Guides Singapore (STGS) said.
Ms Jean Wang, chairman of the STGS, said the initiatives do not offer assistance to them.
She added that the income of some guides has already plummeted to zero since this month.
Ms Wang told The New Paper: "It will be of great help if the authorities can explore similar arrangements like those for the taxi and private-hire car drivers."
Deputy Prime Minister Heng Swee Keat announced on Tuesday a 30 per cent property tax rebate to be given for the accommodation and function room components of hotels, serviced apartments and meetings, incentives, conventions and exhibitions venues.
In addition, a corporate income tax rebate at a rate of 25 per cent of tax payable capped at $15,000 will also be in place.
Mr Kieran Twomey, group chief operating officer of Millennium Hotels and Resorts, told TNP that the property tax rebates will help redirect funds to operating costs and mitigate low occupancy rates.
"The drop in visitor arrivals could get worse before getting better depending on the development of Covid-19. The measures are timely and we welcome them," he said.
Royal Plaza on Scotts has already seen 4,000 room nights cancelled, said the hotel's general manager, Mr Pat rick Fiat.
As a bulk of these cancellations came from guests from China, the hotel is expecting over $1 million loss in revenue from January to June this year.
"Every financial support received will certainly help in our cash flow as we will not be able to close the gap in revenue loss," said Mr Fiat.
Mr Heng also introduced a job support scheme to help workers stay employed, where 8 per cent of an employee's wages will be offset by end-July this year.
The limit for the wage credit scheme will be raised to $5,000 this year, a $1,000 increase from last year.
There will also be enhanced support under the Adapt and Grow Initiative, aimed to retain and train over 330,000 local workers, through redeployment programmes.
Mr Twomey said: "The management will be keen to send staff for additional training during this lull period to better anticipate the challenges ahead post-crisis."
Ms Margaret Heng, executive director of the Singapore Hotel Association (SHA), said: "Protecting jobs and maintaining industry confidence is SHA's top priority. Together with our members and industry partners, SHA will ensure that Singapore's hoteliers are well prepared for a strong rebound in the months ahead."