Assoc Prof Jamus Jerome Lim asked the Minister for Trade and Industry whether the Ministry provides guidelines or subsidies for entry pricing for major attractions for tourists relative to Singapore residents and, if so, whether steeper discounts for residents are possible.
The Minister of State for Trade and Industry (Mr Alvin Tan) (for the Minister for Trade and Industry): Sir, the Ministry of Trade and Industry (MTI) encourages attraction operators to offer discounts to Singapore residents. However, admission pricing is, ultimately, a decision to be undertaken by the operators themselves.
Some attractions have differentiated pricing or seasonal discounts for locals, vis-à-vis tourists. For instance, Universal Studios Singapore (USS), S.E.A. Aquarium, ArtScience Museum and the Mandai Wildlife Parks all offer cheaper, single-entry tickets to locals. These attractions also typically offer seasonal or annual passes to locals. And other attractions, such as the National Museum of Singapore and the National Gallery, also offer free admission to locals. So, please, visit all of our attractions.
Mr Speaker: Assoc Prof Jamus Lim.
Assoc Prof Jamus Jerome Lim (Sengkang): I thank the Minister of State for his response. And, indeed, one of the motivations for me to ask the question was because I went for such a visit with my family, and what I observed was, in contrast to many other countries, the discount turns out to be a very small fraction of the total ticket price. More generally, it makes me wonder whether there could be a greater effort by the Government for either, perhaps, a one-off ticket that could be available for every household who are in the Singaporean Core so that they can at least experience these world-class attractions just once, or perhaps more substantial discounts for low-income families, because, right now, as far as I can gather from the site, the more substantive discounts are just for seniors.
Mr Alvin Tan: I thank the Member for supporting our attractions. Well, at this moment, Singapore Tourism Board (STB) does not have plans to provide guidelines for direct subsidies pertaining to admission prices for Singapore’s attractions. However, if the Member would remember during the height of the COVID-19 crisis, where many of our attractions and, indeed, our tourism sector was hardest hit by COVID-19, we launched SingapoRediscovers Vouchers (SRVs). And that, indeed, helped a lot of the attractions.
It did not just help our tourism sector, but it also enabled Singaporeans to go out there and to participate and enjoy the many attractions we have to offer.
Just to give Members some data, about 1.9 million Singaporeans used their SRVs, generating about $300 million in voucher redemptions, including $180 million in vouchers and about $120 million in out-of-pocket top-ups for the SRVs bookings.
The scheme also assisted and helped many of our retail, food and beverage and transport in about $100 million dollars’ worth of ancillary spending. Although the scheme has ended, we urge the Member, and many Singaporeans, to continue supporting our local businesses and exploring our country. We have many new developments coming up, including Bird Paradise in the second quarter of this year. So, please do visit and support our tourism attractions.
Ministry of Trade and Industry
7 February 2023