Sector Spotlight: Tourism – An Interview with Chew Chien Way, Director, Human Resources & Organisation Development, Singapore Tourism Board

The common perception is that tourism is not the field to get into now, as luxury travel takes a backseat due to the pandemic.

But that couldn’t be further from the truth: Ms Chew Chien Way, Director, Human Resources & Organisation Development, Singapore Tourism Board (STB), set us on the right track about opportunities in tourism during an interview.

“This is probably the most transformative period in the history of the tourism sector,” she informed us. “We need to look at new business models, new segments of customers and new strategies to capture demand.”

“In short, the work we are doing today will shape the future of tourism for years to come, and joining STB allows you to be a part of it.”

Speaking with CareerBuilder, she highlighted three “news” that tourism is welcoming as a sector, and the kind of talent they need. They include:

  1. Technology

Tourism, and by extension STB, is at the forefront of applying of technology to enhance the travel experience and enable tourism companies to understand and cater to their customers better.

“Artificial intelligence, big data, robotics and augmented reality are increasingly being used to enhance safety and add value to the visitor journey at airports, hotels and experiences,” said Chien Way.

“Many of these projects and proof-of-concepts are supported by STB, and we need diverse talent in areas such as experience design and data analytics to drive them.”

Her comments showcase the vast career options in the sector, as it clearly has a place for data scientists and cybersecurity specialists alongside content creators and curators.

  1. Sustainability

It is impossible to full enjoy a holiday knowing the environment is suffering unduly as a result. The traveler of today takes in the delights our Earth has to offer, while remaining keenly aware of how to preserve those for generations to come.

Here, STB is empowering the local tourist business to be ahead of the curve, and providing training to match. For example, it established the Training Industry Professionals in Tourism (TIP-iT) grant in 2020, with over 56,000 training places taken up to date.

“Our ambition over the few years is to be a top sustainable urban destination, and we are working with the various tourism players to develop strategies and a roadmap for destination sustainability,” Chien Way clarified.

  1. Health and Wellness

For obvious reasons, health concerns are now at the forefront of public consciousness, and tourism must evolve to take those factors into consideration every step of every journey.

“The pandemic has sharpened the focus on health and personal wellness,” said Chien Way.

“We believe that Singapore has a right to win in this space as a leading urban wellness haven. Many tourism-related businesses in Singapore are already incorporating health and wellness elements into their offerings, and we are working with more partners to grow our appeal in this area.”

But, what does all this mean in terms of careers and growth?

At this, the Director was quick to set one thing straight: “There’s a common misconception that we only do marketing work in STB when in fact, our work goes beyond.”

“Like our Passion Made Possible brand, we are on the lookout for people who have the 3 Ps – (1) passionate about shaping Singapore’s tourism landscape; (2) desire a job with purpose (as STB is part of the Singapore public service); and (3) possess conviction to serve and push ahead despite all odds.”

One way to showcase this and step into the sector on the right foot is through the two programmes available to fresh graduates, the Management Associate Programme (MAP) or the Technology Associate Programme (TAP). Both programmes look for graduates who are changemakers passionate about tourism and about making a difference.

Which programme is right for me?

 The key difference in the two programmes are in the backgrounds and skillsets of candidates, as well as their desired career pathways in STB.

Management Associate Programme (MAP)

 The MAP is designed for breadth and exploration, recommended for fresh graduates from all disciplines looking for opportunities to explore a multitude of roles in a dynamic and diverse workplace. Candidates who are passionate about shaping destination experiences will also get the chance to build knowledge in various aspects of the tourism sector.

In this vein, each Management Associate (MA) is attached to a Singapore Visitor Centre and rotated to different teams in STB over a 12-month period, before being permanently deployed to a department. In this way, MAs get a taste of the various business functions before they dive deeper into a specific role.

Technology Associate Programme (TAP)

 Launched in 2019, the TAP is for graduates who are keen to transform the industry using data and technology. Technology Associates will be deployed to STB’s Technology Transformation Group to develop their capabilities in these fields. These skills enable officers to take a more data-driven and nimble approach in their work, and bring a data-driven and tech-savvy mindset to STB.

Has all this got you interested? Learn more here!