Singapore cracks regulatory whip on tourist guides
Proposed law changes seek higher professionalism.
The Ministry of Trade and Industry (MTI) and the Singapore Tourism Board (STB) are now seeking public feedback on proposed amendments to the Singapore Tourism Board (STB) Act, said MTI in a release.
The proposed legislative changes are part of Government’s ongoing efforts to raise the professionalism of tourist guides and the quality of tourist guiding in Singapore, MTI explained.
“Tourist guides are a key touch point for many tourists, and they play an important role in developing and promoting Singapore as a choice tourist destination. Hence, we must continuously enhance the professionalism and standards of our tourist guides so that they can provide high quality, authentic and differentiated travel experiences for tourists," said Mr S Iswaran, Minister (Prime Minister’s Office) and Second Minister for Home Affairs and Trade & Industry.
"STB is working with the industry to raise tourist guide capabilities through various skills upgrading initiatives. We also need to review the regulatory framework to effectively tackle unlicensed guiding, which could otherwise tarnish Singapore’s image and impede the professional development of the tourist guide industry," he added.
The MTI release said both MTI and STB have reviewed the existing regulatory regime and are proposing legislative changes to strengthen the regulations against illegal guiding.
"To strengthen STB’s investigative powers against illegal guiding, the STB Act is proposed to be amended so that STB can, where necessary, search premises, question, take evidence and detain suspects who refuse to cooperate with STB during investigations, or where STB reasonably believes that unlicensed guiding has taken place. Furthermore, changes are proposed to the legislation to add a presumption of remuneration, under certain circumstances, and to enable composition of offences to help STB take swifter enforcement action against offenders," said MTI.
Other proposed amendments include updating the types of guiding offences to keep pace with the modus operandi of unlicensed guiding, raising the maximum penalty for unlicensed guiding and related offences to maintain their deterrent effect and repealing outdated provisions.
Subsequently, STB will also be updating the relevant subsidiary legislation and introduce new initiatives as part of the overall drive to enhance the professionalism and guiding standards of the tourist guide community.
Members of the public to share comments and feedback on the proposed amendments to the STB Act. The public can access the public consultation paper via REACH and provide feedback to firstname.lastname@example.org. Public consultation will end on 13 December 2013, 5pm.