Singaporean tour operator grooms young talent to drive industry innovation

The demand for local tours in Singapore may be flourishing, but sourcing for new talent to drive the industry is no mean feat. One tour operator has taken up the mantle of grooming a team of young management and guiding talent to lead innovation in the local tourism scene.

Monster Day Tours, run by founder & CEO TY Suen under Woopa Group, is now Singapore’s largest walking and private tour operator.

Monster Day Tours’ founder & CEO TY Suen wants to attract young talent into the tour operator and guiding industry

Monster Day Tours’ prominence grew in 2017 when it launched free daily walking tours in Chinatown and Little India, taking participants through the districts’ heritage sites, hipster hotspots and architectural wonders. The company has since expanded its menu of free tours to cover Kampong Glam, Marina Bay Sands, Gardens by the Bay, the Civic District, Bugis and Bras Basah.

Suen explained: “We aim to combine adventure and professional storytelling to create quality visitor experiences in Singapore, and to make travel accessible for everyone. Most tour and activities companies will address a specific audience or conduct a specific genre of tour, but we do our best to spread it out.”

But while Singapore’s touring landscape is thriving more than ever before, it is not immune to the challenge of recruiting bright and passionate talent.

Suen professed: “My idea is to be able to attract young talent into the tour operator and guiding industry. Most of Singapore’s younger generation still think that tours are big group bus tours, and a tourist guide is someone waving a flag and bringing the group from point to point. They are not aware that there are new ideas and innovation happening in this industry, and I hope to be able to change that.”

Now, Monster Day Tours’ management team and tour guides are among the youngest in the local industry, with an average staff age of 30 years. Suen said he involves the guides in the brainstorming of ideas for tours to keep them on their toes.

He said: “We continuously update and refresh our tour offerings. In the past two years, we have seen existing players start to innovate and develop more unique tour experiences. It has also begun to attract even players outside of the industry. I think the challenge for tour operators is how to keep our tours and tourist guides relevant for travellers.”

The company’s synergistic energy has empowered it to launch a number of paid themed tours, including A Taste of Michelin 1-Star Chicken Rice & Local Hawker Food Tour, Singapore After Dark Local Street Food & Nightlife Tour, as well as Crazy Rich Asians: Singapore Icons & Filming Locations Car Tour.

This year, Monster Day Tours has branched out to “other focus areas” and developed two new brands: UBE and 8xplore.

Touted as the “pioneer of start-up and business innovation tours in Singapore”, UBE organises localised tours in conjunction with creative start-ups and businesses from various industries in Singapore. Its debut product is Singapore’s first Silicon Valley of Singapore Insider Tour at one-north and JTC Launchpad.

Set to be launched next year is 8xplore, which will specialise in themed Singapore holidays curated for the China market, with offerings ranging from food and culture to heritage and shopping.

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