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 April 25, 2003
Singapore Tourism Board, NTUC And Major Hoteliers SARS Initiatives

 As part of a series of initiatives, the tourism industry has announced a new initiative to help reassure tourists and local residents that appropriate precautions have been undertaken to prevent SARS (Severe Acute Respiratory Syndrome) at hotels. A first ever industry-wide initiative, the launch of the temperature checks at hotels was supported and officiated by Deputy Secretary General, National Trade Union Congress (NTUC) and Senior Minister of State (Prime Minister's Office) Mr Matthias Yao. The new initiative jointly supported by Singapore Tourism Board (STB), National Trade Union Congress (NTUC), Food, Drinks and Allied Workers Union (FDAW) and nine major hoteliers will encourage regular temperature checks of employees from participating hotels beginning on 25 April 2003. This translates into 50 per cent of gazetted hotel rooms embarking on this scheme. All hotels will participate in this scheme by next week.

The temperature checks will be conducted on a daily basis, before an employee's shift begins. Once the employee has cleared the temperature check, a sticker will be provided declaring the employee as fit to work on that particular day.

The sticker indicates that he/she does not have a high temperature upon testing. The sticker will be worn by the employee throughout the day and is expected to reassure hotel visitors of the establishment's stringent health measures. This is in addition to the rigorous measures hotels have internally put in place.

The STB is also finalising a certification system for hotels which will be announced next week. Starting with the temperature checks initiative, STB plans to roll out the certification system for the tourism industry in stages. Through the certification system, visitors will be reassured of the safety of the hotels and the hotel workers in Singapore.

NTUC's Deputy Secretary General and Senior Minister of State (Prime Ministerís Office) Mr Matthias Yao, said: "This industry-wide initiative is an excellent and commendable effort from the four groups - STB, NTUC, FDAW and major hotel groups. Cooperation amongst the various parties will help us all reach a common goal - to overcome the challenges brought about by SARS. I strongly encourage other groups to join the STB, NTUC, FDAW and the participating hotel groups in this initiative."

"The STB is pleased to work with NTUC, FDAW and several hotel groups on this collective effort. We hope this initiative demonstrates the commitment of our respective hotels to provide reassurance to visitors and local residents. We believe this is a very responsible measure to take and within the tourism industry, the hotel sector is the first to roll out this measure. We hope to see the other sectors of the industry such as F&B, retail and attractions support and participate in this initiative," said Mr Lim Neo Chian, Deputy Chairman and Chief Executive, Singapore Tourism Board.

Mr Samuel Tan, Assistant Executive Secretary, FDAW added: "We are encouraged by the support from the STB and the participating hotels. Reassuring our visitors and residents show that our tourism industry is decisive in tackling one of the most serious challenges facing us today."

"Shangri-La is proud to be one of the first participants of this key initiative supported by the STB, NTUC, FDAW and the hotel industry. This small step on our part will go towards ensuring credibility and consumer confidence in Singapore as a destination," said Ms Kay Kuok, Chairman of Shangri-La Hotels Singapore.

"The measures that we have in place, such as the "I am fever-free" badges that our front line staff currently wear, help to assure our guests that all our staff they are in contact with are in good health. These measures, when instituted on a city-wide hotel basis, have definitely helped to alleviate some of the initial fear that visitors may have," said Ms Jennie Chua, Chairman and Chief Executive Officer of Raffles International.

"The importance of the temperature checks initiative cannot be denied. An industry wide initiative, it sends a strong message to the world that Singapore is serious in overcoming SARS and is going the extra mile to ensuring visitors' confidence in Singapore. HPL is proud to be part of this initiative," said Mr Christopher Lim, Group Executive Director of HPL.

"Pontiac Land welcomes the temperature checks initiative which are already being practised by hotels within the group. We have full confidence that our hotel guests will be reassured by the decisive steps taken by the industry," said Mr Kwee Liong Keng, Managing Director of Pontiac Land.

"It is all the more important that the hotel industry galvanises as one during this difficult period. The temperature checks initiative is a worthwhile initiative which we are happy to support," said Mr Ho Kien Guan, Chairman of Keck Seng Hotels Ltd.

The programme was launched with nine major hotel groups: Shangri-La Group, Raffles International, Far East Organization, Pontiac Land, HPL, Keck Seng Properties, CDL, York Hotel and Meritus Hotels and Resorts. Other hotels are also expected to join the program in the coming weeks.

List of Nine Participating Major Hoteliers

Shangri-La Ltd
Ms Kay Kuok, Chairman

Shangri-La Hotel
Rasa Sentosa Hotel
Traders Hotel

Raffles International
Ms Jennie Chua, Chairman and Chief Executive Officer

Raffles Hotel
Swissotel The Stamford
Raffles The Plaza
Swissotel Merchant Court

Mr Wee Cho Yaw, Chairman

Plaza Park Royal
Grand Plaza Parkroyal
New Park Hotel
York Hotel

Ms Elizabeth Khoo

Goodwood Park Hotel

Far East Organisation
Mr Philip Ng, Chief Executive Officer

The Fullerton Singapore
Albert Court Hotel
The Elizabeth
Orchard Parade Hotel

Pontiac Land
Mr Kwee Liong Keng, Managing Director

The Regent
Conrad Centennial Hotel
The Ritz-Carlton

Mr Christopher Lim, Group Executive Director

Four Seasons Hotel
Concorde Hotel
The Hilton

Keck Seng Hotels Ltd
Mr Ho Kien Guan, Chairman

Riverview Hotel

Mr Kwek Leng Beng, Executive chairman

Grand Copthorne Waterfront Hotel
Orchard Hotel
Copthorne King's Hotel
Copthorne Orchid Hotel

YTC Hotels Ltd
Mr Jonathan Yap, Assistant Vice President

Excelsior Peninsula Hotel
Paramount Hotel