Singapore saw 2016 visitor arrivals and tourism receipts hit record annual highs, despite a decline in tourist spending under the government’s heading of “sightseeing, entertainment and gaming”.
Visitor arrivals grew nearly 8 percent year-on-year to 16.4 million in 2016, driven by growth in key markets, said the Singapore Tourism Board in its latest tourism sector performance report. The number of visitors from China reached approximately 2.86 million in 2016, 36 percent more than in the previous year. Tally of visitors from Indonesia and India increased by 6 percent and 8 percent, respectively.
Tourism receipts for full-year 2016 rose by 13 percent to SGD24.6 billion (US$17.7 billion) on the back of food and beverage, shopping and accommodation spending, the tourism board said.
Tourist spending on sightseeing, entertainment and gaming however fell approximately 14 percent year-on-year, according to the data. Such receipts were nearly SGD4.4 billion for the full year, accounting for about 18 percent of total tourism receipts in the period.
For the second consecutive year, tourists from China were the top spenders in Singapore, spending nearly SGD3.5 billion, with the bulk of the spending going into shopping. The Singapore Tourism Board provides a breakdown of overall spending by different source market for tourists. That breakdown however does not include spending on sightseeing, entertainment and gaming “due to commercial sensitivity of information,” said the tourism board.
Singapore is host to two casino resorts: Resorts World Sentosa, operated by Genting Singapore Plc, and Marina Bay Sands, run by a unit of Las Vegas Sands Corp.
Both casino operators reported declines in gaming revenue at their properties last year. Genting Singapore said revenue from its gaming operations fell 9.2 percent year-on-year to SGD1.59 billion in 2016, while Las Vegas Sands saw its gaming revenue decrease 6.5 percent to US$2.16 billion.
For 2017, the Singapore Tourism Board is forecasting tourism receipts to grow in the range of 1 percent to 4 percent, or in full-year aggregate terms to SGD25.1 billion to SGD25.8 billion. For visitor arrivals, it is targeting a growth of up to 2 percent, or a total of up to 16.7 million tourists.
An aggregate of approximately 5.79 million tourists visited Singapore in the first four months of 2017, up 4.4 percent year-on-year, according to official data. The number of visitors from China increased by 8.3 percent year-on-year in the period, to 1.10 million. They accounted for nearly 19 percent of the aggregate number of visitors to Singapore in the period, meaning China overtook Indonesia as Singapore’s largest single source market for tourists in the four months to April 30.
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Chairman and chief executive of MGM Resorts, the parent of Macau casino operator MGM China