The Singapore Tourism Board (STB) is a statutory board under the Ministry of Trade and Industry of Singapore. It champions the development of Singapore's tourism sector, one of the country's key service sectors and economic pillars, and undertakes the marketing and promotion of Singapore as a tourism destination.
The Singapore Tourist Promotion Board (STPB) was first established in 1964 with the mandate to promote Singapore as a tourist destination. It signaled the government’s recognition of tourism’s potential as an important contributor to the country’s economy.
The tourism sector currently contributes 4 percent to Singapore’s gross domestic product. Tourism plays an essential role in reinforcing Singapore’s status as a vibrant global city that is a magnet for capital, businesses and talent. It also enhances the quality and diversity of leisure options for local residents and helps to create a living environment that Singaporeans can be proud to call home.
To reflect a major shift in the way tourism was championed as a key economic driver, STPB was renamed the STB in 1997. STB expanded its role beyond destination promotion and started to establish Singapore as a regional tourism hub for both tourism companies and tourists. It marked a decisive move towards tourism industry development, an approach that continues to distinguish STB from many other national tourism organisations that focus almost exclusively on marketing and promotional activities.
STB strives to ensure that tourism remains an important economic pillar through long-term strategic planning, and by forging partnerships, driving innovation and ensuring excellence in the tourism sector. It continues to market Singapore’s multi-faceted appeal as a premier business and leisure destination, and offer empowering and customised experiences. STB strives to bring the Passion Made Possible brand to life by differentiating Singapore as a vibrant destination that inspires people to share and deepen their passions. This is a unified brand between STB and Economic Development Board (EDB) which will allow the international marketing of Singapore for tourism and business purposes. STB also regularly reviews and updates the tourism regulatory framework to ensure its relevance in the current business environment, while providing support and incentives to catalyse the private sector to take the lead in investing for growth.
Top Grants by STB
To support the industry in the drive towards quality tourism growth, Singapore Tourism Board (STB) offers assistance in the form of various grant schemes for tourism-related industries and events. STB, as the lead agency for tourism, can facilitate the application of other grants by other Singapore government agencies such as the Economic Development Board, and Enterprise Singapore, if the projects support quality tourism outcomes.
STB recently unveils a new four-year Tourism Development Fund (TDF), designed to catalyse the creation of innovative and quality tourism products and experiences, and capability and employee upgrading efforts among tourism-related enterprises.
With the enhancements made to TDF, STB is committed to partnering the tourism sector in driving tourism recovery and transformation efforts.
In the sections that follow, we introduce the top few grants from STB which are the most relevant and accessible for tourism-related businesses:
Details of Funding Schemes:
1. Tourism Product Development Scheme > Experience Step-up Fund (ESF)
The Experience Step-Up Fund (ESF) supports the development and enhancement of Singapore’s tourism experiences that increase the attractiveness of Singapore to visitors.
The ESF grant is open to all legal entities and Singapore government agencies. Proposed projects should fall under one of the following categories:
● Development of new products and experiences (including virtual experiences)
● Content enhancements
● Technology enablers
● Amenities enhancements
● Infrastructure enhancements
Successful applicants will receive funding support for qualifying costs, subject to the scope of the project and STB's evaluation of the merits of the project. Qualifying costs may include third-party project-related costs such as professional services, hardware/equipment and software, materials and consumables, production (1), and/or marketing (2) costs; and internal manpower costs (only applicable for tour development and tech enabler projects).
(1) For production costs of new products and/or new packaging for souvenirs, funding support is only applicable to the first run of production (2) For marketing costs of qualifying media (print, digital and video) for overseas promotion/distribution, funding support is only applicable for a maximum period of 6 months
Step 1: Pre-Application Interested applicants are advised to provide an executive summary/ brief description of the proposed project to STB_Incentives@stb.gov.sg. An STB officer will be in touch to assist further. The STB officer in-charge of the project will advise the applicant if the proposed project is eligible for ESF and to proceed with the application.
Step 2: Application
The applicant prepares the project proposal and estimated breakdown of project costs for submission with the application. To apply for the grant, the applicant needs to log in to the Business Grants Portal (BGP) using a CorpPass.
Application Evaluation: Proposed projects will be assessed on how they develop tourism experiences to improve visitor satisfaction (especially tourists), increase footfall, increase revenue and/or enhancing the overall destination branding.
2. Tourism Event Development Scheme > Kickstart Fund (KF)
The Kickstart Fund supports the creation and test-bedding of innovative consumer-focused concepts and events with strong tourism potential and scalability. This is with the aim of adding to the existing quality tourism software and enhancing the vibrancy of Singapore as a tourist destination.
The Kickstart Fund is open to all legal entities, for e.g. businesses, companies, associations, institutes, etc.
Qualifying projects include customer-focused events and concepts (including pop-ups), such as multi-disciplinary/ hybrid/ virtual events which can cut across multiple lifestyle and/or business sectors, including B2B2C events.
Grant Support: Successful applicants will receive funding support for qualifying costs, capped at a maximum grant of up to $250,000 per edition (multi-edition supported, up to 3 editions over maximum 3 years). Examples of qualifying costs include costs for professional services, equipment & materials, production and marketing costs, as well as internal manpower costs. Funding support is awarded based on STB's evaluation of the scope and merits of the project.
Application Process: The applicant should submit a scanned copy of the completed and signed grant application form, along with relevant supporting documents such as a project concept proposal, a detailed business plan, project budget and CV of key team members as well as track record (if any), to STB_Kickstart@stb.gov.sg. (Please note that digital signatures are not allowed.)
Only complete applications will qualify for evaluation. A project should not commence prior to STB's offer of the grant. Similarly, project qualifying costs should only be incurred after STB's grant offer. Applicants are encouraged to contact STB at least three months before project commencement.
Application Evaluation: Funding support is awarded based on the scope and merits of the application. STB will evaluate the application/proposal based on the following evaluation considerations:
3. Tourism Capability Development Scheme > Local Enterprise and Association Development Programme (LEAD)
The Local Enterprise and Association Development Programme (LEAD) is overseen by Enterprise Singapore and Singapore Tourism Board (STB) to support efforts by Trade Associations and Chambers (TACs) to drive industry initiatives, focusing on areas like technology and infrastructure, business collaborations, as well as intelligence and research.
STB supports tourism-related associations by strengthening their capabilities to enable them to take on a greater leadership role to drive the development and growth of their respective industries and precincts.
LEAD is open to trade associations and chambers (TACs) which can include Singapore-registered societies, professional bodies, unions of employers, overseas business chambers and companies limited by guarantee.
These include Singapore-registered tourism-related associations from industries (such as Attractions, Hotels, Travel Agents, Tourist Guides, MICE, Cruise) and from precincts (such as Orchard Road, Chinatown and Little India).
Proposed projects should involve areas such as training, technology & infrastructure development, business capabilities development, as well as market & channel development and brand development.
Grant Support: Successful applicants will receive funding support for qualifying costs, subject to the scope of the project and STB's evaluation of the merits of the project. Examples of qualifying costs include third-party costs related to professional services, equipment and materials, business development, training and manpower-related costs.
Application Process: Interested tourism-related associations should email to STB_Incentives@stb.gov.sg with a brief description of the association's aims and the proposed project(s). An STB officer will be in touch to assist the applicant further. The STB officer in-charge of the project will advise the applicant if the proposed project is eligible for LEAD and to proceed with the application. (Please note that projects that have commenced prior to STB’s offer of the grant may not be eligible.)
Application Evaluation: Each application will be assessed on a case-by-case basis. Generally, STB would take into account various factors including, but not limited to, the association's financial position and operating track record, developmental plans for the industry or precinct, and the nature of the projects.
In its pursuit of Quality Tourism, STB understands it can neither work in isolation nor spearhead all aspects of development in Singapore's tourism sector alone. Collaborating with and supporting other public agencies and the private sector is vital for the sector's success. STB supports, incentivises and catalyses the private sector to take the lead in investing for sector growth and industry competitiveness.
If you need help applying for any grants from the STB, feel free to check out how RIC can help here.
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