Singaporeans have turned to staycations as a means of escaping the hustle and bustle of city life. Staycations also became more relevant over the last two years, as the COVID-19 pandemic kept international travel to a minimum. For Mohammad Hafiz, 29, and Nurul Faiqah, 28, staycations were often priced out of reach, but they represent a rare chance to spend time with their five children. As a delivery man, Hafiz works six days a week, leaving home at the crack of dawn and returning late at night. “When I wake up to go to work, my kids are still sleeping, when I go back, my kids are sleeping already,” says Hafiz of his schedule. Nurul, on the other hand, runs a home-based business selling JB-style burgers.
When the pandemic hit, money became tight for the family. Nurul recalls having to fill her stomach with food rations from a Family Service Centre during the Circuit Breaker period. Families like theirs are not alone. Early this year, data from Singapore’s Department of Statistics, showed that the overall median household income of Singapore families fell for the first time in more than 10 years. Lower-income households were the hardest hit, with those in the bottom 10 percent seeing a 6.1 percent real decline in income in 2020.
With both Hafiz and Nurul focused on making ends meet, family time was put on the back burner. Their last holiday was to Kuala Lumpur before the COVID-19 pandemic, so it’s been quite a while since the family spent quality time together. A much-needed break came in the form of a Whatsapp message from Trip.com’s partner, Fei Yue Community Services, offering the family of seven a free staycation at Mandarin Orchard Singapore. Needless to say, Nurul was excited to finally have some time off. “What was going through my mind was that I wanted to spend time with my kids,” she said.
Thanks to Trip.com’s ‘Pay It Forward’ campaign, Hafiz and Nurul’s wish for a family getaway came true this October. The campaign is exactly as its name suggests: Singaporeans can donate attraction tickets or hotel staycation packages purchased with SingapoRediscovers Vouchers to selected beneficiary groups that Trip.com is partnering with and in turn, this also supports the local tourism industry. For the specific campaign which Hafiz’s family is a part of, Mandarin Orchard Singapore provided a discounted package of S$100 per night, inclusive of breakfast for two adults and two children.
Trip.com also provided them with an additional night at the hotel. The icing on the cake was when Gardens by the Bay agreed to sponsor admission tickets for the whole family — news which was met with seven extremely wide grins. It was the family’s first trip to the Gardens, and both parents were delighted to see their kids running all over the place in excitement. At the end of the half-day visit, when asked if they would like to come again, 10-year-old Danish and 8-year-old Dhaifullah exclaimed “yes” in unison. “Having such support from the community and corporations is really heartwarming, knowing that someone is looking out for you. I would like to say thank you to the donors,” added Nurul.
You too can make a difference! We’re nearing the end of the year, and the season of giving is upon us again. If you don’t intend to use your vouchers, consider donating them to families like Hafiz and Nurul’s. Check out the family’s fun stay here:
To support local tourism businesses, the Singapore government provided citizens aged 18 and up with S$100 worth of SingapoRediscovers Vouchers. Last December, Trip.com became the first authorized booking partner to launch its campaign, and their first campaign supporting Boys’ Town visit to the Singapore Zoo was a roaring success. It was expected to run for six weeks, but the target of 100 tickets was achieved in less than a week. Since then, Trip.com has launched 27 programmes aimed at supporting various groups of local beneficiaries from less-privileged backgrounds, including children, youths, women, and the elderly. These include a collaboration with Filos Community Services, through which Trip.com secured tickets for senior beneficiaries to visit the Singapore Flyer in April.
Photo: Filos Community Services
Depending on the requirements of the social service agencies and the profiles of their beneficiaries, Trip.com does its best to ensure a memorable experience for its beneficiaries on the day of the visit, including meals and transportation arrangements whenever possible. The response to these programs during the past year has been overwhelming, with about 3,000 attractions passes and hotel stays donated to its beneficiaries. There’s still time to donate your vouchers to these good causes, including a trip for MINDS’ beneficiaries to the Singapore Flyer.
Join thousands of Singaporeans in putting a smile on the many beneficiaries by donating your SingapoRediscovers Vouchers today! Head over to their website to find out how.