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Freelancer suggests to MP that S$100 tourism vouchers be used to support local arts community

Photographer Shian Bang said that if the voucher could be used for local art items, workshops and other similar activities, Singaporeans would have more choices




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Singapore—When anyone has a good idea it should be shared, especially when the idea would be beneficial to many.

One Singaporean recently had such an idea that he not only shared with his Member of Parliament, but also on social media, where others who are in agreement have also shared it.

Shian Bang, a photographer, wrote on the SG COVID-19 Creative/Cultural Professionals & Freelancers Support Group Facebook page on Tuesday (Oct 12) that he had approached his MP recently “to share an idea with them,” and shared this idea to the group to get their perspective on it.

“I told him that the SingapoRediscovers $100 Tourism Vouchers should be extended to support the local arts community. I thought its a pretty plausible idea, it doesn’t require more money pumped in if the same voucher could be expanded to cover the arts.”

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The SingapoRediscovers Tourism Vouchers, announced by Minister for Trade and Industry Chan Chun Sing on September 16, would be given to Singaporeans from the age of 18 and older starting this December for spending on local attractions.

The vouchers are part of an endeavour from the Government to boost the economy, particularly the tourism sector, which has been badly hit by the coronavirus pandemic. The scheme to distribute the S$100 vouchers to Singaporean adults complements the S$45 million SingapoRediscovers marketing campaign, which started in July to entice locals to take staycations as well as support local businesses.

These vouchers are eligible for use at all licensed hotels, leisure attractions and local tours from operators approved by the Singapore Tourism Board (STB) to resume operations.

But Mr Shian argued that the $100 voucher would be insufficient to pay for big-ticket items staycations, requiring Singaporean citizens to add from their own pockets, some would not be motivated to use the vouchers at all.

His suggestion: “Why not allow people to buy small local art items, workshops etc?”

“Besides, if I really don’t want to go for a staycation and do local tourism activities, then its quite limited for me?” he added.

If the voucher could be used for local art items, workshops and other similar activities, Singaporean citizens would have more choices. Additionally, it would also provide a boost for local artists.

“The arts are as important as tourism, tourists themselves come here to buy local art and services too, so why not that? Isn’t art a way of discovering as well?,” Mr Shian continued.

He also said that his MP would forward his suggestion to the MCCY (Ministry of Culture, Community and Youth) and asked fellow artists and freelancers to write to the ministry as well, if they agree with the idea “so that they’ll consider the idea more seriously if they see more people suggesting” it.

They can also suggest the idea to their own MPs as well, he added.

On Tuesday (Oct 13), the Singapore Tourism Board (STB) announced that these vouchers are for personal use only. Lim Shoo Ling, STB brand director added that they “must be used for their intended purposes so that usage can be tracked and abuses such as fraud and resale can be avoided”. —/TISG


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