The Singapore Tourist Promotion Board (STPB) was formed on 1 January 1964 to enhance Singapore’s attractiveness to visitors. The main functions of the board were to coordinate the activities of tourist enterprises, improve and develop tourist facilities and attractions, regulate standards within the industry, and carry out promotional campaigns.
Before the creation of the STPB, the role of promoting Singapore as a tourist destination was in the hands of the Singapore Tourist Association (STA), which was formed under the Ministry of Culture in February 1960. With tourism identified as a key industry and potential source of income and employment for Singaporeans, the STPB was established by law under the Ministry of Finance to assume the functions of STA and to expand its scope to include the total development of the tourism industry with the aim of presenting Singapore as a preferred tourist destination. The move was significant because it was the first time in Singapore’s history that the government had consciously made it a goal to increase the number of tourist arrivals through policy and legislation.
The Tourist Promotion Board Bill was introduced by then Minister for Finance Goh Keng Swee at the Legislative Assembly on 28 November 1963. The bill was read for the second time on 20 December the following month and passed on the same day. The ordinance came into effect on 1 January 1964.
The STPB’s first board members included K. M. Byrne as chairman and representatives from the Economic Development Board, Singapore Tourist Association and various tourism sectors such as travel agents, airlines, restaurants and hotels.The board organised publicity campaigns on Singapore and its attractions in the principal tourist markets; co-ordinated the activities of tourism-related businesses such as hotels, airlines, travel agencies, tour operators and tourist shops; regulated standards of the tourism sector; and improved facilities and attractions for visitors to Singapore.
With the establishment of the STPB in 1964, Singapore saw a marked increase in its annual tourist arrivals from 109,730 in 1963 to 204,852 in 1967. By 1973, STPB had successfully attained its “million-tourists-a-year mark”.
The STPB was renamed the Singapore Tourism Board (STB) on 19 November 1997 to reflect its expanded role of developing Singapore as a regional tourism business centre and hub.
The formation of The Singapore Tourist Promotion Board is shown clearly.