Checking in for romance

Sometimes,more cash and leave are not enough to nudge birth rates up. Here are some creative measures other countries have adopted to get more babies going.

When voluntary organisation I Love Children (ILC) launched an SG50 hotel promotion for couples last year, it became the butt of jokes among netizens.

They ribbed Singaporeans for needing external help to procreate. But in Singapore, where homes are not cheap and it is not uncommon for married couples to live with their parents, some private time may be just what they need.

Plus, Singaporeans love a good bargain, and a complimentary hotel buffet breakfast is always a draw.

On ILC's website, the organisation made it clear what the promotion was about - a staycation to help married couples "kick-start (their) family planning".

Its advertisement featured a man and a woman under pristine white bedsheets, smiling at each other. Twelve hotels took part, ranging from high-end Equarius Hotel in Resorts World Sentosa for $788 per night, to rooms at Village Hotel Changi for $170.

Most offered a package meant to help couples get in the mood for romance - complimentary chocolates, strawberries and wine, and a rose-petal bath.

One went the extra mile.

The boutique Naumi Hotel in Seah Street offered guests a copy of the Kama Sutra and a "naughty pack" of props.

The hotel is offering the same promotion this Valentine's Day.

ILC's campaign may lend itself to easy jokes. But Singapore is not the only country enticing couples to make whoopee while away from home.

In 2014, a travel company in Denmark, Spies Rejser, launched a campaign to urge Danes to go on a vacation and "do it for Denmark" while they relax and unwind.

Denmark, too, faces a population problem. Its birth rate is among the lowest in Europe, with 1.7 children born per family.

It may be hard to plan getaways on a whim in Singapore, where people work the longest hours in the world. So, a staycation would provide the perfect setting, without mum and dad interrupting.

Pearl Lee

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A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Sunday Times on February 14, 2016, with the headline 'Checking in for romance'. Subscribe