Amid the spread of coronavirus outbreak around the world, Prime Minister Lee Hsien Loong encouraged citizens to explore Singapore’s local attractions instead of worrying about travel restrictions.
PM Lee took to his Facebook page on Monday (2 March), sharing his recent weekend trip to Jurong Bird Park while trying to boost domestic tourism in the wake of Covid-19 outbreak.
In his post, he noted that the outbreak of Covid-19 has in fact left its mark on local attractions and businesses following the decline in the number of tourists that visit the country.
Highlighting the recent national budget, PM Lee said that government has also given additional support to tourism sector among other sectors which has been hardest-hit by the epidemic.
He was heartened when he found out that the manager of Jurong Bird Park, Wildlife Reserves Singapore, ramped up training for their staff during the downtime, in line with the government’s effort of retraining and reskilling workers.
He expressed some relief and said, “We will work closely with businesses and union leaders to ensure that workers are protected during this downturn.”
Following the concerns of coronavirus halted the international travel, PM Lee suggested Singaporeans go for a staycation as it is currently “a good time to visit or re-visit” local places of interest.
To stress on his point, PM Lee also cited the example from Jewel Changi Airport which has waived the entrance fees to its canopy park until end of March in order to attract more tourists.
Netizens appreciate PM Lee’s call to support local tourism
Many netizens expressed support and appreciation over PM Lee’s statement of patronising local tourism to improve the country’s economy in light of the Covid-19 outbreak. Most of them agreed that the country’s economy and businesses will be fostered through the contribution of local tourists.
However, some netizens trolled PM Lee over the remark of travelling local, implying the lack of affordability in visiting local attractions. Among them, a netizen also doubted whether discounts on admission fees will be offered to senior citizens.
Meanwhile, under the post of Singapore Tourism Board (STB) who shared PM Lee’s story, a few netizens mentioned that the travel promotional events and discounts on admission tickets are essential for Singaporeans in helping to boost the domestic tourism.
Are Singaporeans being granted privileges when visiting local attractions?
As PM Lee encouraged citizens to travel local, do the domestic tourism sectors and companies provide privilege or any discounts for their local visitors?
Other than Jewel Changi Airport, Gardens by the Bay is providing 50% discounts on tickets admission which is only valid for Singaporeans, starting from 6 – 22 March. Under this promotion, tickets admission into Supertree Observatory, are $5 (original $10) for adult, $3 (original $6) for child and seniors citizen while for Floral Fantasy, tickets are $6 (original $12) for adult, $4 (original $8) for child and seniors citizen.
At the same time, for those who visit Supertree Observatory in the evening from 6.00pm – 9.00pm, tickets are $8 for adult and seniors, $5 for child.
Till the end of this month, Wildlife Reserves Singapore (WRS) is offering 15% off to the members of National Trades Union Congress (NTUC), Singapore Armed Forces Reservist Association (SAFRA), and PASSION card for purchasing adult and child admission tickets at $33.15 (original $39) and $22.10 (original $26) in Singapore Zoo, $27.20 (original $32) and $17.85 (original $21) in Jurong Bird Park, $36.38 (original $42.80) and $23.12 (original $27.20) in Night Safari, as well as $30.60 (original $36) and $14.45 (original $17) in River Safari.
ArtScience Museum at Marina Bay Sands, with the aims of engaging both parents and children in their series of activities and programmes, rolled out the ‘Family Fridays’ package to provide free access for children with every paying adult every Friday.
While NTUC card holders will be given 15% off or pay for ticket admission to One Exhibition at $13.60 (original $16), Two Exhibitions at $22.95 (original $27) and All Exhibitions at $28.90 (original $34) in ArtScience Museum till 31 March.
For Universal Studio Singapore, Singapore residents can pay for ticket admission at a cheaper price than non-residents, which are $77 (original $81) for adults, and $58 (original $61) for children.
As part of government support measures, the tourism sectors, as well as food, service, and retail sectors, will receive property tax rebates and rental waiver.
However, it seems that the respective sectors which had received these measures to alleviate financial pressure did not apply a marketing strategy to attract more local tourists.