6 in 10 willing to top up local tourism vouchers: Poll

Nature-based activities, relaxing options like staycations top list of choices in ST survey

Visitors taking photos in front of Universal Studios Singapore in Sentosa earlier this month. Three in 10 respondents to the Sunday Times survey said they are likely to use the vouchers on attraction tickets, while almost two in 10 said they would go
Visitors taking photos in front of Universal Studios Singapore in Sentosa earlier this month. Three in 10 respondents to the Sunday Times survey said they are likely to use the vouchers on attraction tickets, while almost two in 10 said they would go for a hotel staycation bundled with attraction tickets.ST PHOTO: KEVIN LIM

Nearly six in 10 Singaporeans are willing to spend beyond the $100 value of their SingapoRediscovers vouchers on staycations, attractions and tours, a survey has found.

The online poll, conducted by The Sunday Times, ran for a week shortly after the voucher scheme went live on Dec 1. The survey attracted nearly 300 responses.

Mr Muhammad Salleh Abdul Hamid, 29, a teaching assistant at a special needs school, was among those willing to spend more.

He got married earlier this month and plans to go for a staycation with his wife to make up for the lost honeymoon.

"Initially, we wanted to have a short trip overseas, but the current situation doesn't permit that. Thus, having a staycation would suffice for now," he said.

Dr Wong King Yin, a marketing lecturer at Nanyang Technological University, told The Sunday Times: "Due to the pandemic, Singaporeans can't go anywhere this year. They may be willing to spend the money that has been reserved for overseas travel in Singapore."

The $320 million SingapoRediscovers credit scheme is meant to boost Singapore's tourism sector.

All five authorised booking platforms said they have seen a healthy proportion of Singaporeans willing to top up when using the vouchers.

Booking platform Traveloka said it has seen more than half of Singaporeans picking hotel and attraction options that exceeded $100.

GlobalTix said: "Singaporeans are big on value and great deals. Hence when they see value in the product offerings, they are ready to top up accordingly."

Three in 10 survey respondents said they are likely to use the vouchers on attraction tickets, while almost two in 10 said they would go for a hotel staycation bundled with attraction tickets.

Topping the list of what they would use their vouchers for are activities linked to nature, such as visiting the zoo, and relaxing options such as hotel staycations.

PHOTO: LIANHE ZAOBAO SUNDAY TIMES GRAPHICS

Others expressed interest in things like bungee jumping and heritage and culture tours.

Dr Wong said: "I think most Singaporeans feel very stressed this year. Many people want to take a break and relax.

"Nature is the most popular choice, perhaps because it is the safest way to stay away from the crowd... and relax both physically and mentally."

A bugbear with 32.1 per cent of respondents is that vouchers cannot be transferred between individuals or combined with other people's vouchers.

The Singapore Tourism Board (STB) said last month it decided against allowing that so more businesses affected by Covid-19 can benefit.

Mr Kevin Wee, a senior lecturer at Nanyang Polytechnic's hospitality and tourism management programme, said: "I believe these little inconveniences will not affect the SingapoRediscovers voucher scheme. Ultimately, Singaporeans are given a $100 incentive to go on a holiday. Who's going to say no to having a subsidised holiday?"

Other concerns raised include prices being hiked and sold-out activities.

STB has said it will penalise merchants found to be profiteering.

But Dr Wong said Singaporeans are savvy customers, adding: "Merchants who jacked up the prices of the packages and attractions may leave a bad impression.

"Merchants who launch packages which can offer great value to customers can take this chance to build up their clientele and loyalty among customers."

A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Sunday Times on December 20, 2020, with the headline '6 in 10 willing to top up local tourism vouchers: Poll'. Subscribe