SINGAPORE – The Singapore Tourism Board (STB) has moved swiftly to aid tourism businesses in Singapore affected by the novel coronavirus (nCoV) outbreak.
STB will waive licence fees for hotels, travel agents and tour guides, and defray extra cleaning costs of hotels that provided accommodation to confirmed and suspected cases of the virus.
STB will cover up to 50% of third-party professional cleaning fees, capped at S$20,000 (US$14,600) per establishment, for hotels with confirmed cases of the virus; and S$10,000 per establishment for hotels with suspected cases, backdated to Jan 23. Applications will open between Feb 10 and April 30.
The Hotels Licensing Board will waive licence fees for hotels for the rest of 2020. Applicants can email [email protected]. Similarly, travel agents and tour guides whose licences are due to renewal in 2020 will not need to pay to renew their licence fees.
Singapore’s tourism sector is facing a heavy hit from nCoV with a decline in arrivals expected over coming weeks. Chinese tourists account for 20% of total Singapore international visitor arrivals, with about 3.6 million Chinese visitors to Singapore in 2019.
Keith Tan, STB chief executive, said the board understood the difficulties faced by its tourism partners and needed 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 swiftly once we start to recover,” Mr Tan added.
Full details of the overall package of relief measures will be announced at Singapore Budget 2020 on Feb 18.