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IT Boost For Tourism And Leisure

1 In the past year, the NCB worked closely with its partners in the tourism and leisure industries and the government agencies to deploy useful IT applications that support the objectives of making Singapore a tourism capital of the ...

Singapore, 2 December 1996 | For Immediate Release

1. In the past year, the NCB worked closely with its partners in the tourism and leisure industries and the government agencies to deploy useful IT applications that support the objectives of making Singapore a tourism capital of the 21st century and improving quality of life for Singaporeans.

2. The focus of leisure-related projects is on enhancing accessibility to arts and entertainment options while tourism projects focus on addressing the National Tourism Plan's recommendation of repositioning Singapore as a premier tourist destination, tourism business centre and a leading tourism hub.

Online National Arts and Entertainment Calendar

3. From next month, the comprehensive Online National Arts and Entertainment Calendar (ONAC) featuring schedules, booking information, highlights, reviews and forums of local arts and entertainment programmes will be available on the World Wide Web. For the first time, Singaporeans and tourists from all around the world will be able to get all the information of current and coming events from one source through the internet. By the end of next year, the public can expect to make online bookings when ONAC is linked with at least one ticketing operator.

4. The project is a multi-agency initiative involving the Ministry of Information and the Arts, National Arts Council, National Heritage Board, Singapore Tourist Promotion Board (STPB) and NCB, with the participation of some 50 arts groups and event organisers. The Calendar is hosted and run by Sembawang Media on its 'happening!" web-site.

5. Earlier this year, the NCB conducted an Internet awareness seminar for arts groups. A volunteer-assistance scheme was also initiated to help to jumpstart art groups in Web-page publishing. So far, twelve local art groups have benefited from this scheme.

Singapore Travel Exchange

6. The STPB and NCB saw a need in providing an impetus for the travel and tourism industry to embrace the Internet as a platform to communicate, share information and trade with one another. Hence the Singapore Travel Exchange project was initiated with the aim of improving the efficiency of communication between industry members and making industry information more readily available. The first phase of the Singapore Travel Exchange, featuring travel agents' licence administration, a travel agents' directory and classified advertisements, went live on 1 October 1996. Travel agents can now submit their licence renewals as well as other statutory declarations to the STPB electronically. To date, about 100 travel agents have signed up as members of the Exchange. By the end of next year, we expect to have some 600 travel agents as members.

7. Tour guides can expect to be the beneficiaries when the next phase of the project is launched early next year. Registration for courses organised by the Centre for Tourism-related Studies will be made available. Tour guides who register with the Exchange will also be able to post their personal attributes, such as language ability, and availability to guide tours in the guide exchange. Travel agents requiring the services of tour guides will then be able to source for them efficiently without having to make many phone calls.

Super-Conventions Services

8. To further enhance Singapore's convention facilities, the NCB, STPB, Westin Hotels and a consortium of private sector companies got together to develop a suite of integrated IT services for conference organisers and participants called Super-Convention Services. The services, which included Internet access from hotel rooms and public areas, mobile communications and computing and online reservations of restaurants, were piloted at the Information Superhighway Summit Asia '96 held at Raffles City Convention Centre. The choices of appliances made available to delegates included wireless personal digital assistants, personal computers, Internet kiosks and alphanumeric pagers. The pilot provided useful feedback on the readiness of the technologies as well as the users' demand for such services. The participating vendors are currently working with event and conference organisers to deploy some of these services.

Incentives for Industry Initiatives

9. To encourage the development of innovative tourism and leisure products and services, the NCB together with STPB and the Economic Development Board supported two projects initiated by the private sector. They are the Global Travel Network (GTN) by Linbert Travel Exchange and Abacus Interactive by Abacus Distribution Systems Pte Ltd. These products, which provide destination information and on-line reservation services, are targeted at empowering travel operators with better facilities to create new products and enhance their marketing channels, as well as, enhancing consumers' capabilities in planning and booking their vacations. Further details will be released by the respective companies at a later date.