The Lion City continues its growth as a popular international tourist destination. In its recently the Singapore Tourism Board (STB), showing that last year was a great year for tourism in Singapore as both visitor arrivals and tourism receipts exceeded forecasts to hit historical highs in 2016. While visitor arrivals grew by 7.7 per cent to 16.4 million, tourism receipts rose even higher by 13.9 per cent to $24.8 billion. The strong tourism receipt results came on the back of visitors spending more on Food and Beverage, Shopping and Accommodation.
Chief Executive of the STB Lionel Yeo, said, “We are heartened by the strong tourism sector performance in 2016. Despite challenges such as weaker economic performance in some of Singapore’s top source markets and a Zika virus outbreak, Singapore has managed to attract more quality visitors to contribute to economic growth.”
Chinese Tourists Lead the Way
As in so many SE Asian nations, the rising Chinese market was responsible for a lot of the city’s visitor growth. From January to September 2016, there was good growth in tourism receipts across Singapore’s top ten source markets. For the second consecutive year, China (+41%) ranked top in tourism receipts, followed by Indonesia (+14%) and India (+37%). Tourism receipts from China increased mainly due to a volume-driven growth while Indonesia and India saw tourism receipts growing on the back of visitors spending more on shopping and accommodation.
The Big Picture
For 2016, the top growth markets visitor arrivals in terms of absolute growth were China (+36%), Indonesia (+6%), and India (+8%). The growth was due to more visitor arrivals from Tier 1 and Tier 2 cities in China, India and Indonesia, where STB had intensified its marketing efforts. India also overtook Australia to become Singapore’s 4th largest source market for visitor arrivals.
But the year wasn’t all about growth, there was some challenges. The largest declines in visitor arrivals were posted by Hong Kong (-12%), Malaysia (-2%), Australia (-2%), South Korea (-2%) and Japan (-1%). The decline for Hong Kong was largely attributed to its weaker economic performance, while Malaysia’s depreciating ringgit dampened travel to Singapore. Visitor arrivals from Western Australia declined as travel sentiment was affected by its slowing mining industry. There was also a drop in Australia’s outbound travel to Europe which affected stopover traffic. For Japan and South Korea, the declines were observed mainly in the last quarter of 2016 after the news of Singapore’s Zika outbreak was widely reported in the markets.