The low usage of SingapoRediscovers vouchers among Singaporeans is likely due to them wanting to “avoid attractions overrun with families and children”, or simply because “they think Singapore is boring”, said freelance writer Karen Tee in a commentary piece published on CNA on Sunday (14 Mar).
The Government has earlier set aside S$320 million for tourism credits called the SingapoRediscovers vouchers to drive local spending to Singapore’s eateries, shops, hotels and leisure attractions.
Eligible users can redeem their vouchers through five online booking platforms – namely Changi Recommends, GlobalTix, Traveloka, Trip.com and Klook – until 30 June this year.
However, the author highlighted that only about 530,000 Singaporeans have used their S$100 worth of SingapoRediscovers vouchers, with more than three-quarters of the S$320 million credits remaining unused as of 1 March.
She mentioned that many are not even considering going on tours or visiting attractions in Singapore “unless they have children they need to keep entertained”.
“Some of the most common reasons (or excuses) for being so slow to redeem their vouchers include wanting to avoid attractions overrun with families with children, that they have not yet found something they would like to do or simply because they think Singapore is boring.
“To be fair, there is a grain of truth in these critiques. Not every attraction in Singapore is necessarily inspiring, even when one is bored to the point of tears,” said Ms Tee, who is a graduate of Columbia University’s School of Journalism in New York City.
In her piece, the author also explained why this could be “a great opportunity” to enjoy the country’s most famous destinations.
“After all, we have dutifully visited the Eiffel Tower in Paris or the Statue of Liberty in New York City just to get that money shot, so why not allow our own country the same courtesy?
“As for those who have been to these ‘Top 10 Places to Visit in Singapore’ before, perhaps this is your chance to rekindle some of that magic of your earlier visits. Maybe that was where you went on your first date or a place that totally wowed your child on a previous family outing,” she added.
Over on social media, netizens were quick to criticize the opinion piece as they noted that the low uptake of the vouchers was due to a flawed scheme.
One netizen even took to her Facebook saying that the Government had to “go to the press for help” to write such an article which “mindbogglingly takes an accusatory tone against people making excuses”.
“If the majority of redemptions are not yet claimed then please, something is perhaps wrong with your scheme, not the consumers,” she noted.
Netizens commenting on her post said that the scheme was difficult to navigate and utilise which explain its low uptake.
Others on a Reddit discussion on the same topic pointed out that many of the tour operators have had their prices “jacked-up” after the vouchers were rolled out.