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 March 03, 2004
New Taxi Tourist Guide Scheme In Singapore

 The Singapore Tourism Board (STB) has signed an agreement with the Singapore Taxi Academy (STA) to introduce a new Taxi Tourist Guide scheme in Singapore. The first of its kind in the world, this scheme enables visitors to experience and tour Singapore in a taxi driven by a licensed professional Tourist Guide.

This scheme is in line with the STB's efforts to liberalise the tourist guide sector. The aim is to encourage creativity, entrepreneurship and vibrancy within the tourism industry and provide our visitors with a wider range of tourism products and services. Specially catered for smaller groups, the Taxi Tourist Guide scheme assures our visitors dedicated attention and personalised services.

Mr Gerald Lee, the STB's Assistant Chief Executive (Leisure) said: "For the period from 1998 to 2002, we have seen an average annual growth of 9.4% in Frequent Independent Travellers (FIT) and free-and-easy travellers. With the increasing number of FIT and free-and-easy travellers, it is timely to introduce the Taxi Tourist Guide scheme. The scheme is a refreshing and interesting alternative to touring Singapore. Visitors can enjoy Singapore at their own pace, in a taxi driven by a qualified Tourist Guide who is professionally trained to provide insightful perspectives and in-depth commentaries on Singapore."

Mr Seng Han Tong, Chairman of STA said: "It is exciting to see taxi drivers carving a new niche by enhancing the value of their profession with tour guiding services. This new Taxi Tourist Guide scheme also offers taxi drivers the opportunity to widen their career prospects."

The agreement enables the STB and STA to collaborate and leverage on each other's resources and expertise to institutionalise the Taxi Tourist Guide scheme within a formalised training and regulatory framework which includes training on tourism attractions and guiding techniques, as well as regulatory functions and systems to ensure the provision of excellent and professional guiding services in Singapore.

The Taxi Tourist Guides will be required to own a valid Taxi Driver Vocational Licence (TDVL) before they are allowed to attend the Taxi Tourist Guide course that is approved by the STB. The total training duration is about 82 hours and the course stretches from two to three and a half months. Currently, 238 taxi drivers are under-going the course. Upon completion of the course, the taxi drivers are required to sit for written and practical assessments. They are expected to complete their assessments between March and April 2004. Candidates who passed the assessments will be issued with the Taxi Tourist Guide Licence.

Working closely with STA and the Land Transport Authority of Singapore (LTA), the STB has also developed a regulatory framework to handle issues and feedback related to the Taxi Tourist Guide scheme. A committee comprising representatives from the STB, STA and LTA will meet regularly to discuss these issues.