Digital initiatives to fuel tourism, SME sectors

19 Jun 2007

by Barry Hall

Buoyed by strong export growth and improved international ICT rankings, the government has launched fresh initiatives for the tourist sector and SMEs.

In his imbX speech opening cermony speech, Dr Lee Boon Yang, Minister for Information, Communications and the Arts, unveiled the Digital Concierge, a pilot service that will deliver location-based information about local services and events.

The service, run jointly by the IDA and the Singapore Tourism Board, is aimed at boosting tourist numbers and also sparking the creation of a new segment of business- and user-generated digital content.

A pilot is underway now for the application, which is accessible via 2.5, 3G or Wi-Fi clients.
Lee also announced that the government had set aside S$5 million to help SMEs go online, following a recent study that found many small businesses lacked the know-how to take advantage of new infocomm technologies.

By the end of the year, enterprises will be able to 'seamlessly' obtain a domain name as part of a business registration, Lee said.

Lee hailed a new survey by Accenture that placed Singapore in first place among 22 countries in its global survey of government e-services.

In the last 12 months Singapore had also risen to sixth place in EIU's 'e-readiness' rankings and to fifth in the ITU's digital opportunity index, the IDA said.

IDA CEO Chan Yeng Kit said the infocomm economy in Singapore was 'buoyant,' with the sector expanding by just under 20% to S$45 billion in 2006.

The biggest growth was in hardware and IT services, with hardware now accounting for 53% of the value of the entire sector.

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