SINGAPORE - The decision to prevent the stacking of SingapoRediscovers Vouchers was made so that the tourism vouchers could benefit more businesses, said the Singapore Tourism Board on Saturday (Nov 28).
While many have welcomed the scheme, some consumers have lamented that the $100 vouchers cannot be stacked or combined with those of their family and friends within the same redemption.
Mr Terrence Voon, director of communications and marketing capability at STB, said: "The vouchers are meant to support tourism businesses that have been badly affected by Covid-19, so we hope that Singaporeans can support as many businesses as possible."
Personal use of the vouchers also helps prevent fraud and scams, added Mr Voon during a preview of the voucher redemption process at Tiong Bahru CC on Saturday (Nov 28).
Singaporeans aged 18 and above will be given $100 worth of SingapoRediscovers Vouchers to spend on local attractions, hotel stays and tours.
They can redeem the vouchers online from Dec 1, 2020 to June 30, 2021, through five authorised booking partners: Changi Recommends, GlobalTix, Klook and UOB Travel Planners, Traveloka, and Trip.com
Each voucher comes in denominations of $10. Consumers can decide on the value of SingapoRediscovers Vouchers they want to redeem for each purchase.
STB's Mr Voon added that consumers who need in-person assistance to use their SingapoRediscovers Vouchers do not need to rush to community centres and clubs (CCs).
Starting next month, Singaporeans will be able to get help on how to use the vouchers at 53 CCs, each with three dedicated counters, across the island.
A helpdesk manned by two to three SingapoRediscovers Vouchers ambassadors will share what the scheme is about and how to use the vouchers. The two other counters, located at the centre or within a five-minute walk from it, will be run by an authorised booking partner under the voucher scheme.
Booking counters will also be available at selected malls and SingPost locations.
It could take up to half an hour for booking partner ambassadors to help customers at physical counters, depending on whether consumers have already decided what attractions they want to visit.
The People's Association will also provide registration or password reset services at these CCs for SingPass, which is required in the voucher redemption process.
Mr Voon said: "We encourage Singaporeans to come down to community centres only if you really need assistance in person, and please don't rush as well because there is plenty of time to enjoy our tourism experience."
About 10 to 15 seniors visited the centre on Saturday morning to learn how to use the vouchers while booking attractions. Their bookings were nullified and the vouchers returned to them after the demonstrations.
Madam Chang Ming Wuan, 73, travelled from her home in Dover Crescent to the CC as she wanted to familiarise herself with the voucher redemption process.
"The booking process is easy and took just a few minutes to complete," said the retired midwife, who spent the vouchers on two tickets to Jewel Changi Airport's Canopy Park at Klook and UOB Travel's counter at the CC.
She hopes to use some of the vouchers to book a kelong tour once redemptions open next Tuesday, as it has been a few years since she visited one.
"I will try to use up all the vouchers as I want to help the tour agencies in Singapore that have not been able to earn money due to Covid-19," said Madam Chang.
Meanwhile, Mr Lee Kwee Sim, 63, previously thought the SingapoRediscovers Vouchers were physical coupons but learnt on Saturday that they have to be used digitally and that he can use his SingPass account to redeem them.
He will ask his family members for help to spend the vouchers once he has made up his mind about what attractions to go for.
Mr Lee, a retiree who used to work in the shipping industry, said there could be more elderly-friendly tours included in the attractions under the voucher scheme.
"A lot of seniors have problems travelling around and their family members also need to take time off to accompany them to these attractions, so this is one potential issue," said Mr Lee, who suffered a stroke in 2005 and moves more slowly now.
The scheme already includes some initiatives catering to seniors. Booking partner Changi Recommends will be sending roaming vans to Silver Zones, or areas with a high population of senior residents, to show them how to use their vouchers.
Likewise, GlobalTix is working with travel agent Ace Tours to organise senior-friendly SingapoRediscovers Vouchers tours that can be booked through the GlobalTix platform.
Other items under the voucher scheme include attractions like SEA Aquarium and Universal Studios Singapore, local tours to places such as Little India and Kampong Glam, and staycations at the likes of Fullerton Hotel and Grand Hyatt Singapore.