How COVID-19 Travel Restrictions Helped Boost Singapore's Local Tourism

Singaporeans are known for their wanderlust. We love to travel so much that in 2018, the average Singaporean household was said to have spent $4,080 on holidays.


Of course, things have had to change due to the Covid-19 pandemic.


With 2020 being the toughest year on record for the tourism industry, the sector has taken strides to adapt and reimagine its offerings to tackle new hurdles.


It also benefited from various government grants and support measures to transform its offerings.


The general idea has been to enable companies to position themselves for the future of tourism.


One key way they’ve repositioned themselves is by refocusing on local tourism.


With travel restrictions and the grounding of flights, Singaporeans were forced to look inwards in their quest for novel experiences.


Hence, the tourism industry has seen domestic patronage like never before. Let’s take a look at just how this came to be.



Why Domestic Tourism?


It’s not hard to see why the Singapore tourism industry repositioned itself to focus on local tourism following Covid-19.


First, there’s the fact that post-Covid travel is more difficult than before.


Severe restrictions apply to both travellers from and to the country, making international tourism a difficult project.


While there are restrictions on domestic travel as well, they remain lower hurdles compared to the ones for international travellers.


This already makes local tourism a more attractive prospect for Singaporeans.


And Singaporeans were looking for prospects the moment travel became possible once more. As we said before, most of us are tourists by nature.


It only made sense for the Singapore tourism industry to tap into that potential market, which had mostly been occupied with international tourism before.


So, when restrictions began to ease in Singapore in June 2020, Singaporeans were itching to satisfy their adventurous natures again.


The limitations they faced on international travel restricted their options to domestic ones, as expected - which meant local tourism had a chance to flourish as a response.



The Shape of Domestic Tourism


So what does local tourism look like in Singapore now?


Well, during the peak of the pandemic, many tour agencies adapted by creating virtual tours suitable for team bonding and the everyday person.


Monster Day Tours did this, for instance, and got a strong positive response.


At least two cruise companies have begun offering cruises to nowhere that last until October of this year too, where ships offer a staycation that has no ports of call save our own.


The government has also lent its support to this lifeline for the tourism industry.


For example, in light of the drop of $27.7 billion in tourist spending resulting from the closure of borders, the Singapore Tourism Board launched the SingapoRediscovers campaign.


This was an initiative to channel the travel budget Singaporeans have into local businesses. Every Singaporean adult above 18 years old was given $100 to spend on local staycations, attractions, and tours, among others.


With this stimulus, Singaporeans made time to explore the often-forgotten parts of Singapore, revisiting places such as the Zoo, Aquarium, and Universal Studios, for example.



Conclusion


There’s something important to mention here: with travel bubbles forming as well as talks of reopening of borders, there’s still reason to expect Singaporeans will slowly return to their pre-Covid-19 travel habits.


However, it will be some time before that takes effect.


The world is still playing catch up with the crisis, ensuring that its citizens are being vaccinated against the virus.


Fortunately, the existence of local tourism has helped our tourism industry survive in the meantime.


As we said above, local campaigns and Singaporeans making a point to rediscover their own little island have helped in boosting the local tourism scene.


What are your thoughts on the matter? Feel free to let me know in the comments!

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