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Public concerned that tourism vouchers may result in vendors marking up prices

Netizens were concerned that hotels will increase their prices in order to recoup losses

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Singapore – Members of the public are expressing concern over the S$100 noting vendors will mark-up prices at the same time.

All eligible Singaporeans aged 18 and above will be given S$100 worth of vouchers for staycations or local tours and leisure attractions. The coupons will come in denominations of S$10 and will be accessible via SingPass. They are valid for seven months, from Dec 2020 until the end of June 2021.

Details to the SingapoRediscovers Vouchers was announced on Sept 16 by Trade and Industry Minister Chan Chun Sing. He highlighted that the initiative was “an economic scheme to help our tourist attractions preserve their capabilities that have been built up over their years while they consolidate the capacity in the interim.”

The vouchers can be used at all licensed hotels, leisure attractions or local tours that have been approved to reopen or resume by the Singapore Tourism Board (STB).

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The SingapoRediscovers Vouchers scheme, worth S$320 million, is part of the Government’s efforts in boosting the tourism industry that has been badly affected by the pandemic. Another S$45 million was budgeted for marketing the campaign, which was launched in July to encourage locals to support local businesses.

With Dec 1 drawing near, members from the online community have begun wondering if the vouchers were truly worthwhile. On Wednesday (Nov 18), Facebook page All Singapore Stuff posted a photo of a hotel staycation highlighting the expected mark up in prices that would meet the vouchers’ arrival.

“Some hotels I checked increase more than S$100…not worth, lah,” said Facebook user Zhi Kim. Another concerned citizen noted this was a typical occurrence. “As always, lah. Government gives subsidy, then companies benefit from it again.”

“Every vendor surely mark up. Once they hear ‘give money or vouchers,’ all will mark up. More marketing, consultancy, training companies will pop out of nowhere. In the end, it’s a vicious cycle,” commented Facebook user Don DW. Others mentioned that increased prices were to be expected.

Meanwhile, Facebook user David Firdaus explained that such a response from companies happens everywhere and not just in Singapore. “If they give you a voucher that means the cost price will be jacked up slightly. Furthermore, they’ll try to recoup as much as possible, especially during these trying periods where hotels are operating at a loss.”

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

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

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