As the pandemic continues on around the globe and many borders remain tight or completely closed to foreign travellers, tourism industries are feeling the pinch—but two of its major players have found a way to navigate through this tough time.
Back in April, home-sharing giant Airbnb pivoted slightly during the pandemic and began virtual versions of its Experiences portfolio with their new Online Experiences offerings, a move that aimed to give hungry travellers a taste of travel while also helping to support struggling tourism providers large and small around the globe. In August, Airbnb partnered with NYC's famous Broadway theatre district to help create a collection of virtual experiences that bring the theatre to fans through cast meet-and-greets, sing-a-longs, story times, and more.
Now, Airbnb has teamed up with the Singapore Tourism Board to help travelers immerse themselves in the Lion City's unique culture and tourism offerings without ever leaving their homes.
This new partnership, which was announced on Oct. 21, highlights Singapore as a top Online Experiences destination, giving the country a first-of-its-kind dedicated Singapore Virtual Trips page on Airbnb's website, where guests can easily book affordable “trips” to Singapore and experience everything “from Michelin-starred heritage fusion to crazy rich experiences” hosted by top-notch Singaporean tourism operators.
“I have personally enjoyed Airbnb’s Singaporean cooking Experiences and know that such Experiences unlock new ways to discover Singapore through its greatest natural resource—its people,” Chris Lehane, Airbnb's Senior Vice President of Policy and Communications, in a statement. “And it is through using the Airbnb platform to showcase the incredible people of Singapore to the world that, working in partnership with the Singapore Tourism Board, we can help support the recovery of international tourism.”
Current virtual offerings include a bingo-themed exploration through Singapore, a visit to one of the city's unique Peranakan homes, cocktail and cooking classes, a guided sound bath meditation, and a sustainability-focused tour at the Cloud Forest in Gardens by the Bay.
“This is an exciting new way for Gardens by the Bay to continue to delight people, enabling us to connect with friends and fans around the world,” said Online Experience host Chad Davis, who is also Deputy Director of the Cloud Forest at Gardens by the Bay. “I look forward to sharing my passion for our Cloud Forest and helping virtual visitors rediscover the region’s most extraordinary cooled conservatory through this unique virtual format.”
The two organizations are planning to expand the partnership to include in-person Airbnb Experiences that will immerse travellers in local dining, nature, wellness, and arts experiences. The hope is that more and more local tourism businesses will be able to take their businesses online and offer virtual visits, ideally getting people psyched on visiting Singapore in the flesh—and maybe taking a ride on the world’s longest flight to get there—once borders reopen.