Singapore has announced support measures for the tourism sector to help mitigate the economic impact of the COVID-19 outbreak, Singapore Tourism Board (STB) said in a press statement.
Encouraging tourism sector players to leverage on the downtime to reskill and upskill, STB will provide tourism companies with more support to upgrade the capabilities of their workers.
STB will enhance the Training Industry Professionals in Tourism (TIP-iT) funding support to fund up to 90 per cent of course fees and trainer fees. This is an increase from the previous cap of 50 per cent. In addition, funding for absentee payroll will be increased from SGD 4.50/hour to 90% of the worker’s hourly basic salary, capped at SGD 10/hour.
“While this is a tough time for tourism, we must position ourselves for a strong recovery," said Keith Tan, Chief Executive Officer of STB. "I urge tourism businesses not just to retain their workers, but also to take advantage of the support measures to help them build new skills and capabilities."
In support of STB's measures, SkillsFuture Singapore (SSG) will be providing time-limited, enhanced training support for the tourism sector.
Employers in the tourism sector who send their workers for selected sector-specific training programmes in the next three months will receive enhanced Absentee Payroll (AP) support at 90 per cent of hourly basic salary capped at $10 per hour. They can also enjoy enhanced course fee support at 90 per cent of course fees. Training programmes will include courses in digital marketing and SkillsFuture for Digital Workplace programmes.
Workforce Singapore (WSG) also enhance its Job Redesign Place-and-Train Programme for Hotel Industry and rolled out a new Digital Marketing Place-and-Train Programme. Over SGD 5 million has been set aside for this effort.
Through the Job Redesign Place-and-Train (JR PnT) Programme for Hotel Industry, hotels can receive salary support of up to 70 per cent for the training duration. This is to help defray the costs involved in reskilling and preparing their workers for redesigned and enhanced roles. The salary support duration has also been extended to up to six months from three months.
Meanwhile, the Digital Marketing Place-and-Train Programme will help MICE, Attractions and Tour & Travel (MAT) businesses adopt e-commerce and build up their digital presence for the longer term. This will be done by absorbing the manpower and training costs involved to reskill and redeploy their workers into new digital roles through salary support and course fee funding.
In its statement, STB said the outbreak of COVID-19 and the subsequent travel restrictions have resulted in tour group cancellations that have significantly affected tourist guides. To provide some financial relief during this challenging period, tourist guides will receive wage support of SGD 1,000 over three months to assist with some of their basic living expenses.
To be eligible, the tourist guide must be licensed, a Singapore citizen or Permanent Resident, and self-employed. Tourist guides can expect to receive the wage support approximately within one month of the application.