Kwee Wei-Lin: The Resilience Package has fortified Singapore's hotel industry. Credit: SHA
SINGAPORE - The Singapore Hotel Association (SHA) has welcomed the unprecedented move by the Singapore government to provide a mega budget of S$48 billion (US$33.59 billion) - or 11% of gross domestic product - to support the country.
SHA has been involved in appealing for financial assistance to save its hoteliers, working tirelessly to handle escalating control measures such as Malaysia's Movement Restriction Order and mandatory Stay-Home Notices for returnees from UK and US amidst other COVID-19 related issues.
Ms Kwee Wei-Lin, president of Singapore Hotel Association, said: "The Resilience Package has fortified Singapore's hotel industry. The Singapore Hotel Association is truly thankful that our appeals over the past months have been heard.
"Through the collaborative effort of various government agencies and industry partners, SHA was in active dialogues to seek financial assistance for our members.
"As the outbreak escalated over the weeks, SHA proposed a series of relief measures to alleviate our hotel members' financial burden. We are relieved and appreciative that most of our appeals have been granted. This is a tremendous show of confidence in Singapore's tourism industry and a much-needed boost of motivation for our embattled hoteliers.
"Being the collective voice of 158 hotels, comprising some 85% of gazetted room inventory, SHA is committed to protecting the interests of our stakeholders.
"Job security remains our top priority. With more than 40,000 hospitality workers at risk, the Resilience Package has given hotel members the ability to protect our human capital.
"With the tightening of travel restrictions on a global basis, tourism demand is almost non-existent. Although we observed temporary respite from staycations and local F&B patronage, these incremental revenue streams disappeared with the new social distancing measures. The Resilience Package is the lifeline for Singapore's hotel industry."
With Singapore facing one of its worst economic contractions since independence, the package aims to save jobs and support workers; aid firms in the short-term; and strengthen long-term resilience.
The Jobs Support Scheme's wage offsets will rise to 25%, up from the previously-announced 8 per cent, with more for badly-hit sectors: 50% cent for food services, and 75% for aviation and tourism.
The monthly qualifying wage cap will be upped to S$4,600, and support will be extended for another two quarters. There will be income relief and more training support for the self-employed, larger payouts for the low-income, and a grant for the unemployed. New schemes will offer 8,000 traineeships and 10,000 new jobs.