Mr Ang Wei Neng: To ask the Minister for Trade and Industry (a) how is the Ministry distributing the $100 tourism vouchers digitally; (b) how will Singaporeans who do not know how to handle the digital tourism vouchers be taken care of; and (c) whether the Ministry will minimise fraud pertaining to the digital tourism vouchers.
Mr Melvin Yong Yik Chye: To ask the Minister for Trade and Industry (a) whether there are plans to help seniors utilise their SingapoRediscovers Vouchers especially seniors who are staying alone with little family and social support; and (b) what are the safeguards put in place to prevent unscrupulous individuals or companies from misappropriating these vouchers from the elderly.
Mr Leon Perera: To ask the Minister for Trade and Industry whether the SingapoRediscovers vouchers can be extended to arts-related activities such as festivals and stage plays given the link between the tourism industry and Singapore's ambitions to become a global cultural hub.
Oral Answer (to be attributed to Minister of State for Trade & Industry and Culture, Community and Youth, Alvin Tan)
1. The SingapoRediscovers Vouchers (SRV) aims to encourage Singaporeans to support our tourism businesses, which have been among the hardest hit by the COVID-19 pandemic. The vouchers will be available for redemption from 1 Dec 2020 and will be valid until end-June 2021. Singapore citizens will be able to redeem the vouchers via SingPass.
2. The government is cognisant that some seniors may need help with accessing the SingapoRediscovers Vouchers (SRV) via SingPass.
3. While we encourage all Singaporeans to register for a SingPass account, if they have not already done so, and redeem the vouchers digitally, we will provide some physical touch points for those who need them.
4. Klook Travel Technology with UOB Travel Planners, Changi Travel Services and GlobalTix, which are booking platforms for the SRV, will offer both digital and physical touchpoints. Singapore citizens who require help making their bookings for tourism products can seek assistance at physical touchpoints provided by these platforms. These physical touchpoints will span the island to make it easier for people to access them. Currently, STB is working with the People’s Association to supplement these with touchpoints at some community centres. STB will also set up a hotline to handle public enquiries and feedback.
5. STB is working with the relevant government agencies and appointed booking platforms on developing safeguards against fraud. The use of SingPass will provide secure authentication for the distribution of the vouchers and help mitigate fraud. Citizens are reminded to keep their SingPass account details confidential, not to share their one-time password (OTP) with anyone, and to be careful of unsolicited text messages or web links that direct them to suspicious portals claiming to be SingapoRediscovers booking platforms, to avoid falling prey to scams. Members of the public are advised to make purchases from only authorised platforms. The ambassador at the physical touchpoints will also remind seniors of the above safeguards.
6. STB will conduct regular checks and audits and leverage data analytics to flag out suspicious transactions for further investigations. Cases of fraud will be reported to the police.
7. To the honourable Mr Leon Perera’s question about the arts related activities, I would like to remind the Member that the point here is that the vouchers were primarily targeted at businesses that derive most of their income from tourists - hotels, tourist attractions and tours.
8. Museums and galleries that cater to tourists are already eligible for the scheme as tourist attractions. Arts and cultural organisations which offer complementary products can work with eligible merchants, such as hotels, tourist attractions and tours, to develop bundles to qualify for the SRVs. They can also leverage marketing initiatives by STB to reach out to locals. For example, they could contribute deals and content for the SingapoRediscovers campaign.
9. The government recognises the importance of the arts and culture sector here in Singapore. Entities under this sector qualifies for Jobs Support Scheme (JSS) Tier 2 support till Mar 2021. The government has also rolled out the Arts and Culture Resilience Package (ACRP) to safeguard livelihoods, retain capabilities in our ecosystem, and position the arts and culture sector for the post-COVID recovery.
10. I appreciate our Members’ interest in the SingapoRediscovers scheme and look forward to their support of our tourism establishments. Information on the redemption process and list of authorised platforms will be mailed to Singapore citizens later this month prior to the planned rollout.