One-stop tourism resource platform for businesses launched

Minister for Trade and Industry (Industry) S. Iswaran looking at a vintage Vespa with a sidecar at the marketing and technology showcase at the Tourism Industry Conference 2018. With him are (from left) STB chairman Chaly Mah, chief executive Lionel
Minister for Trade and Industry (Industry) S. Iswaran looking at a vintage Vespa with a sidecar at the marketing and technology showcase at the Tourism Industry Conference 2018. With him are (from left) STB chairman Chaly Mah, chief executive Lionel Yeo and assistant chief executive (marketing group) Lynette Pang.ST PHOTO: GAVIN FOO

Small businesses hoping to get a share of the tourist dollar now have an easier way to grow their reach through a new online platform that allows them to share their content with a broader audience, or use resources from it to improve their own services .

The Tourism Information and Service Hub, launched yesterday by the Singapore Tourism Board (STB), will provide a one-stop tourism resource for businesses.

Attractions can, for example, upload their operating hours and events to gain exposure, while travel businesses here and abroad may download such information and have updates automatically reflected on their linked websites and mobile applications.

STB chief executive Lionel Yeo, who launched the hub at STB's annual tourism industry conference, said the platform "addresses an industry need to have more up-to-date information about tourism offerings and to have a one-stop source to find out what is happening in Singapore".

The platform also provides access to content or software that can be used on a business website or app. It is free for businesses to use.

Mr Alvin Yapp, owner of The Intan, a private Peranakan museum, is one of more than 600 companies which have registered.

"We don't have a huge marketing budget to reach out to tour agents or potential customers... Visitors may have difficulty finding these niche experiences and (the hub) now allows smaller players like myself to connect," said Mr Yapp.

It was one of several initiatives announced to help businesses transform by leveraging technology.

  • 535m

  • Projected number of international visitor arrivals to the Asia-Pacific in 2030.

Data analytics will also play a bigger role in tourism, said Mr Yeo.

The Singapore Tourism Analytics Network, launched last year for internal use by the STB, will now be made available to external stakeholders in phases, said Mr Yeo.

The network uses aggregated visitor geolocation data, among other information, to gather insights on tourists in Singapore.

The STB has already entered into data partnerships with industry members, including Sentosa Development Corporation, Gardens by the Bay and Expedia.

Under a partnership cemented this week, Expedia will provide booking and search data to the STB to share with tourism stakeholders here, in a first for the online travel booking platform.

Expedia's director for global product management Ho-Strangas Shyn Yee said its insights would allow other STB partners to customise the traveller's experience.

"For example if they know an Expedia customer coming to Singapore is a family traveller and likes to book in Chinese, (they) would be able to say why not pick up the customer at the airport in a family car with child seats and a driver who can speak the language," she said.

Other plans announced at the annual conference included a new night experience at the Singapore Zoo and Marvel-themed events.

A Marvel Studios: Ten Years Of Heroes exhibition will run for three months from June at the ArtScience Museum as part of STB's three-year partnership with The Walt Disney Company South-east Asia to bring themed events and activities here.

Minister for Trade and Industry (Industry) S. Iswaran, speaking at the event yesterday, noted that increased air connectivity and a rapidly growing middle class in the region are among the factors that are projected to nearly double international visitor arrivals to the Asia-Pacific from 279 million in 2015 to 535 million in 2030.

Intraregional travel accounts for about eight in 10 arrivals to Asia and the Pacific, with outbound demand led by China. The Chinese market holds significant potential over the longer term, as the recent surge in Chinese travellers may represent only "a drop in the ocean", said Mr Iswaran.

But despite the positive outlook and two consecutive years of record highs in visitor arrivals and tourist spending in Singapore, the tourism industry's continued good growth cannot be taken for granted, he added.

A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Straits Times on April 18, 2018, with the headline 'One-stop tourism resource platform for businesses launched'. Print Edition | Subscribe