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STB and Airbnb join hands to promote local virtual experiences globally

SINGAPORE – The Singapore Tourism Board (STB) and Airbnb are joining hands to promote local online tourism experiences to global audiences.

On Thursday (Oct 22), both parties announced a two-year Memorandum of Understanding (MOU) to promote Airbnb Experiences hosted here on Airbnb’s platform.

Airbnb Experiences are activities designed and led by locals. In April, the company launched Online Experiences, calling them “a new way for people to connect, travel virtually and earn income during the Covid-19 crisis”.

A collection of local Online Experiences will be curated by STB and Airbnb and featured on a new Singapore Virtual Trips page, offering international travellers an opportunity to explore Singapore virtually while cross-border travel remains extremely limited.

The Online Experiences currently featured on the page include a sustainability-themed tour at Gardens by the Bay’s Cloud Forest, a visit to Peranakan home museum The Intan with owner Alvin Yapp, a tour of the one-north tech precinct by Monster Day Tours featuring interactive game elements, and a virtual tour of Old Kallang Airport with heritage blogger Jerome Lim.

Mr Chad Davis, deputy director of the Gardens by the Bay’s Cloud Forest, said: “This is an exciting new way for Gardens by the Bay to continue to delight people, enabling us to connect with friends and fans around the world.

“I look forward to sharing my passion for our Cloud Forest and helping virtual visitors rediscover the region’s most extraordinary cooled conservatory through this unique virtual format.”

STB and Airbnb said they hope the partnership will encourage Singapore tourism businesses to take their products online and pivot towards innovative hybrid business models, as the industry “reimagines the future of tourism”.

Besides Online Experiences, both parties are working towards promoting in-person local Airbnb Experiences across various categories, including dining, nature, wellness, and the arts.

Marketing Singapore to stay “top-of-mind” among global audiences is another aim of the collaboration.

Content jointly produced by STB and Airbnb will be promoted across the platforms and channels of both parties, like STB’s online Tourism Information and Services Hub.

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Airbnb Experiences guests who sign up for the VisitSingapore app can also expect to unlock benefits like exclusive offers.

To grow experience offerings in Singapore and aid in tourism development and recovery, STB and Airbnb will also share insights and best practices with each other.

For instance, STB can access Airbnb’s City Portal, a data-sharing platform that allows governments and tourism organisations to gain travel industry insights.

Mr Chris Lehane, Airbnb’s senior vice-president of policy and communications, said: “Healthy travel is travel that keeps the economics local and is authentic to the culture of the destination.

“To support such healthy travel, we are excited to be partnering with STB to promote experiential travel in one of the world’s most vibrant and dynamic communities.”

He added that the partnership would give a boost to the recovery of international tourism.

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STB chief executive Keith Tan said: “As travel gradually resumes, we want to focus on strengthening Singapore’s brand image in the minds of audiences around the world, and ensure that our destination remains top-of-mind.

“This partnership will also give passionate Singapore hosts a world-leading platform to reach out to quality travellers globally, while helping them innovate and explore new business models.

“We are excited about working with Airbnb, and look forward to breaking new ground together.”

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