The Singapore Tourism Awards (STA) 2021 was clearly a celebration of the resilience, creative transformation and compassion that the Singapore travel and hospitality industry has shown in the past 18 months.
Organised by the Singapore Tourism Board, the STA was, like many industry players in Singapore, forced to "adapt and change" to a virtual edition this year when recent circumstances did not allow for a physical award ceremony to take place.
But STA's first-ever virtual edition did not diminish the remarkable display of the award finalists in their "dedication and professionalism in the face of adversity, the courage to innovate and transform, and of course, the sheer grit required to get through this period," said STB Chief Executive Keith Tan said in his opening speech.
Minister for Trade and Industry Gan Kim Yong, who attended STA 2021 as guest of honour, said, "Tourism businesses must continue to be nimble and creative to thrive in this evolving environment."
Shining stars who care
STA 2021 featured 77 shortlisted finalists across 22 award categories.
A total of 25 individuals and organisations were also honoured for their outstanding achievements across the three award categories of Customer Service, Experience Excellence and Enterprise Excellence.
Xperience DMC’s Fascinating World of Aviation PLUS Exclusive Hangar tour and Tribe's Chinatown Murders took the top honours in the Outstanding Tour Experience award category.
Meanwhile, Lloyd’s Inn Singapore was recognised for its Outstanding Hotel Experience while the Standard Chartered Singapore Marathon 2020 won the Outstanding Leisure Experience title for successfully hosting more than 12,000 runners at its grand finale, including 37% joining from overseas.
STA 2021 host Nikki Muller cheers on the finalists tuning in online.
As a nod to this "exceptional year for tourism", a trio of new Special awards were also added for Sustainability, Most Exemplary Employer, and Community Care (Business and Individuals).
Leading the pack in sustainable tourism solutions were two winners: Mandai Park Holdings, which has reduced its carbon footprint by 30% and supported more than 50 local and global conservation projects; as well as Resorts World Sentosa (RWS) for its energy and water conservation efforts.
With awareness of mental health rising in the workplace, Wildlife Reserves Singapore and Gardens by the Bay each received recognition as exemplary employers who developed impactful policies to retain and retrain staff amid the pandemic hardship.
RWS, Marina Bay Sands (MBS), as well as SATS-Creuers Cruise Services and Star Cruises were top businesses named in the Special Award for Community Care.
Laudable initiatives rolled out include pooling restaurants together to donate 15,000kg of food by MBS, and RWS supporting some 34,000 Covid-19 patients through Community Care Facilities, while Genting Cruise Line's SuperStar Gemini and SuperStar Aquarius housed 8,000 recovering migrant workers and even gave out free haircuts.
Individual tourism workers from Mandarin Oriental, Singapore, and RWS were awarded for acts of selflessness under the Community Care category as well.
The full list of the award recipients and finalists of the STA 2021 can be viewed here.