Singaporeans aged 18 and above this year will receive $100 each to spend on staycations, tickets to leisure attractions and local tours, in a move to stimulate domestic spending and save jobs in the tourism sector.
The digital SingapoRediscovers Vouchers will be accessible via SingPass from December and can be used to offset ticket purchases and hotel stays until the end of June next year. Permanent residents will not be eligible for the vouchers.
Adult Singaporeans will also be able to purchase up to six subsidised tickets for attractions and tours - each at $10 off - for those under 18.
Announcing the details yesterday, Trade and Industry Minister Chan Chun Sing said the duration of the voucher programme is timed to coincide with the March, June and December school holidays, and to spread out demand in between.
The initiative is not a social assistance scheme, he stressed.
"This is an economic scheme to help our tourist attractions preserve their capabilities that have been built up over the years while they consolidate capacity in the interim," Mr Chan told reporters during a visit to Jurong Bird Park.
The $320 million SingapoRediscovers Vouchers scheme was first announced last month and forms part of the Government's efforts to prop up the tourism sector, which has been decimated by travel restrictions amid the Covid-19 pandemic.
The vouchers, which will come in denominations of $10, can be used at all licensed hotels, leisure attractions and for local tours by operators that have received approval from the Singapore Tourism Board (STB) to reopen or resume.
There are currently 214 hotels, 40 attractions and 438 tour itineraries that have been given the green light to resume operations with safe management measures in place. They include Singapore's four wildlife parks, a number of activities and hotels on Sentosa and guided tours of Pulau Ubin.
STB also announced that tourist attractions can apply to increase their operating capacity to 50 per cent - up from the current 25 per cent - from tomorrow.
Gardens by the Bay and park operator Wildlife Reserves Singapore are among those planning to do so.
The move to get Singaporeans to support local businesses is gathering pace, with the latest move complementing the $45 million SingapoRediscovers marketing campaign, launched in July to promote holidays at home. The vouchers will provide added incentive for Singaporeans to rediscover their backyard, STB said.
Mr Chan added that while there are other support schemes for tourism businesses, the vouchers will encourage consumers to support fellow citizens employed in the industry.
He said businesses outside the tourism sector are expected to see a boost as well, as spending spills over into food and beverage, for example. "As to the exact extent of the catalytic effect, it will be a bit hard to predict at this point in time, but we hope that it is at least a few times what we have provided for in the Budget," he added.
The STB said specific details on how the vouchers can be redeemed will be announced in November.
It called a tender yesterday to appoint platforms to facilitate the redemption of vouchers.
While the tourism board expects that the redemption process "will adopt a digital mode by default", it will provide support for those who have difficulty using such methods.
Observers said the $100 credits will drive interest in leisure activities that Singaporeans may have previously overlooked, but operators need to boost their offerings to spur additional out-of-pocket spending.