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STB announces gradual reopening of tourism establishments from July

THE Singapore Tourism Board (STB) said on Sunday that tourism businesses in Singapore will be permitted to resume operations in stages from July 1, starting with 13 attractions. From Sunday (June 28), STB will also allow domestic tour operators to begin submitting their applications to resume operations.

This is part of the resumption of activities in Phase 2 after the circuit breaker, STB said.

The following attractions, including selected components in the two integrated resorts (IRs), have submitted their reopening proposals. The Ministry of Trade and Industry (MTI) and STB have carefully assessed their proposals and will allow them to reopen from July 1:

• Bounce• Flower Dome at Gardens by the Bay• Jurong Bird Park• Madame Tussauds• River Safari• Singapore Zoo• Zero Latency• ArtScience Museum, Sands SkyPark and Observation Deck and Casino at Marina Bay Sands• Universal Studios Singapore, S.E.A. Aquarium and Casino at Resorts World Sentosa

Flower Dome will open to Friends of the Gardens members on July 1 and the public from July 11.

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As a further precautionary measure, most attractions will be restricted to no more than 25 per cent of their operating capacity at any one time, for a start. Access to the casinos will be limited to existing casino members and annual levy holders only.

In a Facebook post, Minister for Trade and Industry Chan Chun Sing said that more tourism businesses will be allowed to reopen progressively. "Our economic agencies and ministries are working hard to help our tourism-related industries resume activities safely and save jobs for our workers in the industry. Please support our local tourism industry and our workers too," he added.

Senior Minister of State for Trade and Industry Chee Hong Tat, in his Facebook post, said: "The tourism sector will take a long time to recover, as we do not expect international travel to return to its previous levels before a vaccine is developed. For attractions and tours, operators need to attract local customers during this period.

"I hope these efforts will also spur new innovation and concepts that can enhance our attractiveness to international tourists subsequently. This is important to protect livelihoods and create new jobs for our people."

In its release, STB said that attractions and tour operators are required to submit their reopening proposals to the board for assessment. "Operators must demonstrate effective implementation of safe management measures to provide a safe environment for customers and workers, and may resume operations only after receiving approval from MTI," STB added.

These proposals must include safe management measures that are tailored to reduce the risks of Covid-19 transmission of each attraction or tour. Before approval is given for an attraction to reopen, its operator must address risks specific to the nature of its operations and adhere to stipulated requirements.

Tour operators and tourist guides can submit applications to, and may only resume carrying out tour activities after receiving approval from MTI. They will be required to submit their tour itineraries and schedules to STB in advance, and demonstrate that they can implement all relevant safe management measures.

Concurrently, STB will step up its efforts to ensure that more tourism businesses, including attractions, apply for the SG Clean certification. SG Clean is a national mark of excellence that indicates adherence to heightened standards of cleaning, hygiene and sanitisation, and will provide reassurance to all who visit these premises.

STB's chief executive, Keith Tan, said: “The tourism sector has been hard hit by the Covid-19 pandemic, but our industry partners have responded with professionalism and resilience. With tourism reopening in a safe and gradual manner, STB’s key priority will be to ensure that tourism businesses can provide a safe and enjoyable experience for their guests and visitors.

"While it will be some time before Singapore can fully welcome international visitors, we hope Singaporeans and residents of Singapore will enjoy what our tourism businesses have to offer, in a socially responsible way.”

Tresnawati Prihadi, chairman of the Association of Singapore Attractions (ASA), said: “During the three-month closure, our attractions have been working hard on the SG Clean certification and putting in place enhanced measures to ensure that the attractions are safe for our guests as well as for staff. We are delighted that our attractions will now be able to reopen, to welcome guests and bring smiles to their faces again. ASA is committed to working with the authorities and our members to deliver fun and safe experiences for our guests.”

Jean Wang, chairman of the  Society of Tourist Guides (Singapore) or STGS, said: “We are pleased that tours can now resume, following several challenging months. This is encouraging news, and our members look forward to sharing their stories and knowledge of Singapore with locals and visitors again. STGS will continue to work together with STB and our members to ensure tour operators and tourist guides carry out tours safely.”

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