Singapore Tourism Board (STB) has introduced measures to help tourism businesses combat the impact of the 2019 novel coronavirus (nCoV). STB said it would waive licence fees for hotels, travel agents and tourist guides, and defray enhanced cleaning costs of hotels that provided accommodation to confirmed and suspected cases of nCoV infections.
The tourism sector has already been directly impacted by nCoV, due to a decline in visitor arrivals, especially from China. Chinese tourists account for around 20% of Singapore’s international visitor arrivals, with about 3.6 million visitors in 2019.
Keith Tan, chief executive of STB said: “We know the situation is likely to persist and recognise we need to move quickly to support the industry and build confidence. STB will continue to identify targeted and effective ways to support the tourism industry so that they are well-positioned to grow once we start to recover.” As part of this initial package, hotels that provided accommodation to suspected and confirmed cases of nCoV infections will get help with their environmental cleaning and disinfection costs.
STB will cover up to 50% of third-party professional cleaning fees, capped at SGD 20,000 (USD 14597.37) per establishment for hotels with confirmed cases; and SGD 10,000 (USD 7298.68) per establishment for hotels with suspected cases. This will be backdated to 23 January, when the first case of nCoV infection in Singapore was detected. Applications will open until 30 April, following which STB will assess the situation to see if further support is required.