While the skies in Singapore has remained smog-free one month into its annual haze season, its tourism sector is bracing itself for a recurrence of last year's severe air pollution, with precautionary measures already in place island-wide.
Drifting smoke from neighboring Indonesia is an annual affair during the dry months of June to September due to the agricultural slash-and-burn practices during harvesting, but many Singaporeans and businesses were caught unprepared when smog pollution reached hazardous level last June, hitting a 16-year high.
With Indonesia's disaster agency issuing recent warnings of a surge in forest fires in western Sumatra and amid forecasts that this year's haze could be exacerbated by the El Nino effect, industry players tell CNBC that they are taking no chances. Many have put in place contingency plans to combat potential pollution-related disruptions.
Aside from alternative work arrangements, travel agency Dynasty Travel said they have a variety of indoor itineraries to fall back on in the event of hazardous air conditions.
"Last year, we had a tour group who had to cancel a trip to the Singapore flyer so this year if the same happens, we'll make arrangements to [restaurant and bar] '1-Altitude' which is indoors and they can still view the city scenery," said Alicia Seah, director of Marketing Communications at Dynasty Travel.
"For our M.I.C.E groups, we have in place art and craft, baking classes and inspirational talks if outdoor team games which require physical exertion need to be canceled," Seah added.
While Dynasty Travel saw minimal cancellations last year, it suffered a significant slowdown in bookings for nearly a month at the onset of haze. "If we had 20 calls per week, during the haze it dropped to five," Seah noted.