Mr Patrick Tay Teck Guan: To ask the Minister for Trade and Industry if he will provide an update on the review of the regulatory framework, enforcement, changes and enhancements to the tourist guide industry which the Ministry and Singapore Tourism Board have embarked on.
Oral Answer by Mr S Iswaran, Second Minister for Trade and Industry
The Singapore Tourism Board (STB) takes a serious view on illegal guiding. Over the past two years, STB has stepped up enforcement action against unlicensed tourist guiding activities. Enforcement checks increased from 200 in 2011 to 247 in 2012. In the first five months of 2013, STB conducted another 105 checks. STB is also working closely with other agencies, such as the Ministry of Manpower and the Immigration and Checkpoints Authority, to take action against unlicensed tourist guides.
STB is also reviewing the regulatory framework for tourist guides and travel agents. The aim is to strengthen the enforcement powers of STB officers on the ground, and increase the penalties to more effectively deter illegal tourist guiding activities. The review is ongoing and amendments to the relevant legislation and regulations will be implemented progressively.
STB needs the support of the industry stakeholders to effectively curb illegal tourist guiding. STB has stepped up its engagement with stakeholders such as the NTUC Tourist Guide Chapter and the Society of Tourist Guides, inviting them to give feedback on enhancing regulations and enforcement. STB will continue to work closely with stakeholders on ideas that can be incorporated in the ongoing regulatory review.