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Singapore's tourism embraces $1 billion AI boost

AI integration reshapes the local tourism landscape for efficiency and engagement.

Singapore's tourism industry is integrating artificial intelligence (AI) in its operations, following the recent Budget 2024 announcement that the country will invest over $1 billion in AI. 

Wong Ming Fai, Chief Technology Officer at the Singapore Tourism Board (STB), elaborated on the multifaceted approach local businesses are taking to incorporate AI, from chatbots to virtual reality.

Wong underscored the necessity of this integration, stating, "This is important for tourism businesses to integrate AI into their operations, as it can help them improve efficiency, streamline operations, and drive revenue growth." 

Tourism entities are leveraging AI-powered chatbots and virtual assistants to offer round-the-clock customer support, addressing frequently asked questions and aiding with bookings. Additionally, AI algorithms are being utilised to understand customer preferences, enabling personalised recommendations that enhance the travel experience.

One innovative application within hotels is the experimentation with voice AI assistants, serving as an in-room concierge service. This technological advancement not only enriches guest experiences but also significantly reduces operating costs. 

STB's hybrid innovation space, TCube, supports tourism businesses in incorporating AI into their operations, providing a platform for testing solutions and developing new opportunities.

On enhancing customer experience through AI, Wong discussed the deployment of mobile applications, virtual reality (VR), and augmented reality (AR) to create immersive and interactive travel experiences. 

In a partnership with Google, STB has integrated AR experiences into the Visit Singapore Travel Guide App, enabling visitors to explore landmarks with a virtual guide. This initiative exemplifies how technology can transform travel into more memorable and engaging experiences.

Furthermore, Wong pointed to emerging AI trends that local tourism businesses should monitor, particularly generative AI, which has significantly impacted the global landscape.

STB has initiated several programs, including a series of podcasts on Spotify, to help stakeholders integrate generative AI into their operations effectively. These educational resources aim to inspire and guide businesses in leveraging AI for revenue growth and improved customer experiences.

The STB, in collaboration with the Infocomm Media Development Authority (IMDA), has also developed industry digital plans (IDPs) for the hotel and attractions sectors. These plans outline the latest technological developments, including AI, and provide guidelines for applying these technologies effectively within tourism businesses.

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