By Tiffany Fumiko Tay
The Straits Times/ANN
Projects like the redevelopment of Sentosa and Pulau Brani, as well as the upcoming Jurong Lake District tourism hub, will begin to take shape by the mid-2020s - when the tourism industry should see a recovery, said Singapore Tourism Board (STB) chief executive Keith Tan yesterday.
These investments are necessary to remain competitive, he stressed, adding that STB will ramp up marketing activities in select overseas markets so these can be revived quickly when travel restrictions are lifted.
Trade and Industry Minister Chan Chun Sing said Singapore remains committed to its long-term plans for the tourism sector, as it believes global tourism will progressively recover.
The assurances come amid questions about the fate of the $9 billion expansion plans by Singapore's two integrated resorts after Resorts World Sentosa (RWS) retrenched its staff last week. Both RWS and Marina Bay Sands have said they will be continuing with their plans, which are expected to be completed by 2025.
Mr Tan said STB has not been informed of any other retrenchments, but cautioned that more are to be expected. He added that STB is working with the Manpower Ministry and unions to ensure support is quickly provided to workers whenever a tourism business signals it is considering retrenchments.
Last year, Singapore's tourism industry employed about 65,000 workers across areas such as hotels and attractions.
While STB had earlier projected tourist arrivals to fall by up to 30 per cent this year, Mr Tan said it would be impossible to tell what the true impact of the coronavirus outbreak would be.
"We have already seen numbers for April and May at a 99.9 per cent drop, so that's the way that we're looking at it for the rest of the year," he said.