Where Passion Meets Vision
Working in close partnership with industry stakeholders, the STB shapes an exciting and memorable ‘YourSingapore’ experience for the millions of tourists who visit our shores every year. Meet two vivacious scholars from STB who have dedicated themselves, heart and soul, to this compelling vision.
By Jacelyn Lim & Winifred Tan
Our first impression of the Singapore Tourism Board (STB): as colourful as a rainbow, as endlessly fascinating as a kaleidoscope. From the friendly reception to the well-maintained koi pond and tasteful office décor, STB spells fun and vibrancy at every turn.
Such a thoughtful and yet lively environment aptly reflects STB’s role as the tourism champion for Singapore. Situated in the heart of our island, STB is responsible for showcasing the cornucopia of local attractions and promoting Singapore as a premier travel destination for tourists the world over, while at the same time channelling tourism as a key revenue driver for our economy.
It is truly a place where the pleasure of travel meets with the zest of young officers and the vision of a leading economic development agency.
Triggering the Key
Meet 24-year-old Tiffany Tay and 30-year-old Rachel Loh, two creative visionaries who have thrown themselves wholeheartedly into realising STB’s vision. Both recipients of the STB Scholarship, Tiffany is currently working as Assistant Manager in the Healthcare division, while Rachel is Assistant Director of the Integrated Resorts II and Business Tourism Development I divisions.
Tiffany: “Despite being trained in business management and accountancy, I decided to take up the STB Scholarship because of my interest in tourism. In STB, the nature of our work is meaningful because we promote tourism for economic development. It helps that we have an open work environment too. One beauty about working in STB is that even though we’re a government agency, we’re not terribly bureaucratic – just look at our colourful offices and the absence of room partitions for our directors!”
Rachel: “I used to think of tourism in rather broad, abstract terms, but this changed once I started working in the Hospitality Industry Planning Department. My colleague, who was responsible for inspecting budget hotels and recommending them in travel guides, brought me along to visit the hotels in Geylang and Little India. Among the many budget hotels, there were small family-operated hotels which, albeit basic, were by and large clean and decent. However, a few of them were so poorly run that I was absolutely appalled! That incident alone reaffirmed my purpose in STB and my desire to push for quality accommodation.
While our target audience are tourists who utilise such services, the impact of our work, such as setting appropriate service standards, will definitely affect every Singaporean.”
Shaping Your Singapore
Contrary to popular belief, promoting tourism goes far beyond showcasing the traditional segments of attractions and shopping. As Tiffany and Rachel are quick to point out, their work ranges from promoting Meetings, Incentive Travel, Conventions and Exhibitions (MICE) to even healthcare and transport services.
Tiffany: “I’m currently in the Enrichment division, Healthcare department. In a nutshell, medical travel refers to persons travelling to other countries to seek medical treatment. Singapore has been receiving medical travellers since 2003.
What my division does is to work closely with private hospitals, cultivate channels for regional tourists to seek the necessary medical attention, and work with healthcare providers to enhance patient experience. One of my responsibilities includes establishing the niche Russian market, which involves forging partnerships with doctors and medical agents from the Russian healthcare industry.”
Rachel: “My portfolios include managing the Marina Bay Sands Resort and the MICE sector. Prior to this I was also involved in the Cruise Division, a side of tourism that not many people are exposed to.
I also vividly recall my first ever work trip to Hong Kong. It was an interesting trip, and upon my return I shared with the STB management recommendations on how we could improve Singapore’s service standards. I’m glad to say some of these initiatives have since been implemented, such as displaying the hotline numbers of different taxi companies’ at taxi stands for the benefit of tourists.”
Tiffany: “Working in STB is rewarding precisely because you can witness how you’ve helped shape the tourism landscape. With so many sectors and ongoing projects in STB, there’s never a dull moment. STB actively encourages officers to rotate to a new division every two to three years to gain more functional experience; in fact, I already have my eye on the MICE industry!”
Exploring the World
In an increasingly digitised environment, the next key challenge on STB’s plate would be to project an image of Singapore as a wholesome and yet personalised travel experience. To this end, STB advocates for its officers to travel extensively across the world to understand and learn from different tourism models.
Tiffany: “STB is an organisation where young officers are given the opportunity to travel. I’ve gone on two trips so far, the most recent one to Switzerland to understand the medical wellness landscape, the other to Spain for the World Health Tourism Congress 2011. This is one of the key health and medical tourism event that brings together health authorities and key stakeholders.”
Rachel: “Of all the work trips I’ve been on, Egypt stands out as the most memorable. I was there to attend the World Tourist Guide Conference. It was an eye-opening experience, not simply because I had the opportunity to visit the famous pyramids of Giza, but also because the Egyptian guides were exceedingly professional and proud of their heritage. Instead of telling tourists what to expect, their stories allow tourists to experience that same feeling of awe when historians first discovered the pyramids!”
With their vast catalogue of experiences, it is clear both Tiffany and Rachel share a deep passion for their work and are keen to continue driving STB to greater heights.
To students who aspire to follow in their footsteps, the duo have this to share, “A career with STB is dynamic and enriching, both in terms of depth and breadth. We’re bold and experimental, but at the end of the day we remain committed to our vision: to be a leading economic development agency in tourism. Come join us for an exciting time!”