Singapore Announces Domestic Tourism Campaign to Drive Local Demand

Posted on: July 23, 2020, 03:20h. 

Last updated on: July 24, 2020, 02:23h.

The Singapore Tourism Board (STB), Enterprise Singapore, and Sentosa Development Corporation — three government agencies engaged in promoting leisure and hospitality in the city-state — announced this week a SGD45 million (US$32.5 million) initiative to fuel domestic travel in the wake of the COVID-19 pandemic.

Singapore Marina Bay Sands Sentosa casino
The infinity pool atop Marina Bay Sands in Singapore is once again open, and tourism agencies want more locals to take a dip. (Image: DraftKings at Casino Queen)

Dubbed “SingapoRediscovers,” the campaign is designed to support local lifestyle and tourism businesses, and encourage Singaporeans to explore different sides of the sovereign republic.

The campaign, say officials with the three agencies, “is the largest campaign introduced in Singapore to drive local demand” in history. It’s also the first public initiative to encourage domestic tourism since the BOOST (Building on Opportunities to Strengthen Tourism) campaign debuted in 2009 following the global financial crisis.

COVID-19 has had a severe impact on many sectors of our economy, and it will take time for consumer confidence and international travel to recover,” said Keith Tan, chief executive of the STB. “Through this campaign, we hope that Singaporeans will gain fresh perspectives, and take a short holiday — or a Singapoliday — to rediscover their own country and help support local businesses.”

SingapoRediscovers will sponsor and advertise various promotions aimed and tailored towards citizens and residents, including “staycations,” mini-holiday packages, and “value-for-money experiences.”

Casinos Need Gamblers

Singapore has two integrated resort (IR) casinos that hold a duopoly on commercial gambling. Marina Bay Sands, considered the world’s gold standard when it comes to IRs, and Resorts World Sentosa, both opened in 2010.

Marina Bay Sands is one of the most profitable casinos on the planet. The iconic resort and RW Sentosa, however, were shuttered on government orders on April 7. They were allowed to reopen July 1.

As a result, Marina Bay Sands parent company Las Vegas Sands reported in its second-quarter earnings release that net revenue at its Singapore property totaled just $23 million April through June. During the same three months in 2019, Marina Bay Sands’ net revenue totaled $688 million.

Sheldon Adelson, founder, chairman, and CEO of Sands, said the company’s Singapore property has performed well since reopening.

“My over 70 years of business experience are the basis from my unbridled optimism that people will travel again, shop again, and come together again to enjoy entertainment and social interaction to exchange ideas and to conduct business,” the 86-year-old billionaire declared.   

Selling Sentosa

Sands’ earnings report shows just how dire the coronavirus has impacted the global gaming industry — including in Singapore. SingapoRediscovers seeks to ignite domestic travel to help assist the industry before international travel more vigorously returns.

The Sentosa Development Corporation is responsible for marketing the holiday island — an agency not unlike the Las Vegas Convention and Visitors Authority. The 500-hectare island is home to RW Sentosa, as well as an array of beach resorts, lush rainforests, themed attractions, golf courses, and deep-water yachting marina.

RW Sentosa is offering numerous packages through SingapoRediscovers. Worth noting: Sentosa is where President Donald Trump and North Korean leader Kim Jong Un held their historic face-to-face meeting in June of 2018.