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STB launches one-stop tourism resource platform for businesses

AN ONLINE platform that allows businesses to contribute and access content, including travel software services for use on digital channels, was launched on Tuesday by the Singapore Tourism Board (STB).

The Tourism Information and Service Hub, which was announced last year, is the first of its kind and acts as a one-stop tourism resource for businesses, said STB.

Attractions, for example, can upload their operating hours and events to gain exposure, while businesses here and abroad may download such information and have updates automatically reflected on their linked websites and mobile applications.

For example, Buffalo Tours in Vietnam is already drawing information from the hub for its collation of information about Singapore, while Singapore's Hungrygowhere has uploaded about 500 points of interest to the platform.

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STB chief executive Lionel Yeo, who launched the hub at STB's annual tourism industry conference, said that the platform addresses an industry need to have more up-to-date information about tourism offerings and to have a one-stop source to find out what is happening in Singapore, including walking trails and the latest deals.

The service is free for businesses to use and also provides access to services such as navigation functions for use on a business's website or app.

The hub was one of several initiatives announced to help businesses transform by leveraging technology.

Data analytics will also play a bigger role in tourism, said Mr Yeo.

The Singapore Tourism Analytics Network, launched last year for internal use by the STB, will now be made available to external stakeholders in phases, said Mr Yeo.

The network uses aggregated visitor geo-location data, among other information, to gather insights on tourists in Singapore.

The STB has already entered into data partnerships with industry members, including Sentosa Development Corporation, Gardens by the Bay and Expedia.

Singapore-registered tourism stakeholders will also be able to access free online courses as well as workshops provided by the STB through its marketing college from the second half of this year.

"Tourism has been undergoing some serious transformations in recent times. My bet is that the future holds even more change and disruption, and it will come at us at a faster rate. The upshot of this is that we have to be continuously adapting and changing too, lest we find ourselves out of step, or left behind," said Mr Yeo.

For example, STB is supporting companies which create new souvenirs and confectionery that are well packaged and are representative of Singapore, through the Experience Step-Up Fund.

Last year, there was an increase of about 26 per cent in visitor spending on souvenirs, gifts and confectionery items.

Other plans announced at the annual conference included a new night experience at the Singapore Zoo and a series of Marvel-themed events.

A Marvel Studios: Ten Years Of Heroes exhibition will be held at the ArtScience Museum as part of STB's three-year partnership with The Walt Disney Company South-east Asia to bring themed events and activities here.

Minister for Trade and Industry (Industry) S. Iswaran, speaking on Tuesday at the event held at the Suntec Singapore Convention and Exhibition Centre, noted that increased air connectivity and a rapidly growing middle class in the region are among the factors that are projected to nearly double international visitor arrivals to the Asia-Pacific from 279 million in 2015 to 535 million in 2030.

Intraregional travel accounts for about eight in 10 arrivals to Asia and the Pacific, with outbound demand led by China. The Chinese market holds significant potential over the longer term, as the recent surge in Chinese travellers may represent only "a drop in the ocean", said Mr Iswaran.

But despite the positive outlook and two consecutive years of record highs in visitor arrivals and tourist spending in Singapore, the tourism industry's continued good growth cannot be taken for granted, Mr Iswaran said.

The industry can better leverage technology to sharpen marketing and outreach efforts, complement and refresh tourism offerings and drive better productivity, he added.

THE STRAITS TIMES

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