The Singapore Tourism Board (STB) has set aside $22 million to help tourism businesses market their services and build demand for when global travel resumes.
Travel agents, which have seen business dry up amid the coronavirus outbreak, will now also be allowed to use their reserves to make ends meet.
The minimum financial requirement that they must fulfil to keep their licence has been reduced by 90 per cent until the end of the year, STB said in a statement yesterday.
Those holding general licences will now have to maintain a net value of $10,000, while for niche licence holders, the minimum is $5,000.
This will free up cash flow for businesses during this challenging period, STB said.
The tourism industry has been among the hardest hit by the coronavirus outbreak.
Travel restrictions have put a halt to inbound and outbound travel, while all attractions and entertainment venues, including nightclubs, cinemas, museums and casinos, have had to shut as part of stricter social distancing measures.
The sector has received aid from the Government in the form of wage subsidies and other support, but maintaining mindshare among international travellers during the slowdown is also critical, STB said.
To help businesses do this, it has launched a $20 million Marketing Partnership Programme, which will cover up to 70 per cent of qualifying marketing costs.
The scheme, launched for hotels on April 1, will be extended to attractions, inbound travel agents and the Mice (meetings, incentives, conferences and exhibitions) sector in its second phase.
Applications will open for these businesses early next month, and those interested can e-mail MPP@stb.gov.sg to learn more.
STB has also set up a $2 million SG Stories Content Fund to create compelling Singapore stories and support content creators.
The fund will support 90 per cent of qualifying costs for digital video content production, marketing and distribution, capped at $150,000 per project.
Applications will open from May 1 to 31. Due to current safe distancing measures, outdoor filming is prohibited and all content must be produced from home, STB said.
To help businesses upgrade during the downtime, STB has also partnered Facebook, Google and LinkedIn to develop Web-based training for the industry. Other tools include platforms for data sharing and learning about digital change.
Visitor arrivals fell by half in February compared with the year before, with just 732,000 tourists making the trip after Singapore raised its disease outbreak response to "orange" and tightened travel restrictions on Chinese tourists. The numbers for last month, when a ban on all short-term visitors came into effect, are expected to hit new lows.
Singapore's hotel occupancy fell 53.6 per cent year on year to 38.3 per cent last month, while revenue available per room plummeted 62.4 per cent to $81.35, said global data and benchmarking firm STR. The figures are the lowest on record in STR's Singapore database, it said when releasing the data yesterday.