GB Srithar, Regional Director (India, Middle East & South Asia), Singapore Tourism Board, feels that fundamental shifts in consumer expectations and industry operations are afoot and they will manifest themselves in 2021. The role of tourism establishments and destinations may also need to be more persuasive than before.
What’s STB India’s plan for 2021?
STB and our tourism partners have been leveraging technology and the digital medium for consumer outreach since the start of the pandemic as it is important to continue engaging with them and keep Singapore close to their hearts and minds. In 2021, we will continue to bring engaging content to audiences.
What were STB India’s challenges in 2020?
The pandemic is one of the biggest challenges that Singapore tourism has faced in its 56-year history. Singapore is fortunate to have the resources to manage the pandemic in a robust manner and we have made good progress. Most of our tourism industry has safely and gradually re-opened for business. We entered Phase-3 of our three-phased COVID-19 re-opening on December 28.
Your outlook for 2021?
Tourism will no longer be the same – with fundamental shifts in consumer expectations and industry operations. One key development will be a growing emphasis on hygiene and health amongst consumers.As such, travel will no longer purely be a decision driven by the aspiration to travel or attractiveness of a destination. The ability of a destination and its tourism establishments to provide good health and sanitisation practices will be vital in inspiring confidence and influencing consumers’ choice to travel. It is likely for consumers to prioritise quality brands that can provide trust, especially for families and seniors.
What lessons must destinations learn in the new world order?
Recovery will take time and mass international travel will not return in a significant way any time soon – even if a vaccine is found. That is why we are growing domestic demand to help our tourism businesses through this period. We will continue to forge ahead with major tourism infrastructure and redevelopment projects, tapping new trends coming out of the pandemic such as nature and sustainable tourism.
Any learnings you may have had in 2020?
I am a firm believer that people matter the most and getting the right, motivated team brings relevant results. Chief among the high points in my tenure here is that I enjoy the privilege of leading a great team. As a marketer, I frame Singapore tourism promotions into a two-pronged strategy: strong travel trade engagement and innovative, engaging consumer outreach projects. I am pleased that we have built strong, deep and meaningful relationships with travel trade across India. They are not just trade partners but our partner-friends.