Singapore Tourism Grows to S$6 Billion

Tourism in Singapore has grown 5 percent year-on-year to S$6 billion. Receipts for the first three months of 2014 reflect this growth, according to the latest Tourism Sector Performance Report by the Singapore Tourism Board (STB).

Growth in tourism receipts was driven by Sightseeing, Entertainment and Gaming (SEG), which recorded a 19 percent year-on-year growth to rake in S$1.6 billion in revenue, the STB said in the report released late July. Both integrated resorts reported an increase in their overall gaming revenues.

SEG was followed by Other TR Components – which include expenditure on airfares, port taxes, local transportation, medical, business, education and transit visitors – that generated S$1.4 billion in revenue, it added.

Declines in spending on Shopping, which saw a 6 per cent drop, and Food and Beverage, which dipped 1 per cent, were seen in the quarter though, STB said.

In terms of international visitor arrivals for the first quarter, the agency said the figure held steady at 3.9 million. Visitor arrivals in the three months were mainly impacted by the 14 per cent decline in arrivals from China "due to the continuing impact of the tourism law that was introduced on Oct 1, 2013", it said.

The law stipulates, among other things, that tours sold in China for domestic and overseas travel clearly list itineraries, duration and details of transport, hotels and meals.

Excluding visitors from China, visitor arrivals grew 2.8 per cent on-year, with South Korea (17 per cent) and Vietnam (13 per cent) showing strong growth, according to the report. Indonesia continued to top the visitor arrivals list at 749,000 in the first three month.

Despite the drop in visitor numbers, China was still the top tourism receipt-generating markets in the first quarter with S$800 million spent by Chinese tourists. The figure excludes expenditure on the Sightseeing, Entertainment and Gaming component due to "commercial sensitivity" of the information, STB said.

Indonesia and India made up the top three, with the former contributing S$658 million and the latter S$284 million, according to the report. Indonesia's tourism receipts fell 12 percent on-year because it was impacted by a drop in per capita spend, while India's 3 percent dip on-year was primarily driven down by a fall in arrivals and per capita spend of leisure visitors.

STB also said gazetted hotel room revenue showed a strong 12 percent growth to hit S$800 million in the first quarter. This was aided by a rise in Average Room Rate, which stood at S$261 in the first three months, a 2.7 per cent hike year-on-year.

However, Average Occupancy Rate stood at 86 per cent, a 0.4 percentage-point decline over the same period last year, the report stated.