An expansion during the first 10 months of this year in the number of Chinese visitors to Singapore has helped the recovery of the city-state’s tourism sector, according to government data released on Wednesday.
A total of 10.57 million tourists of all nationalities visited Singapore in the calendar year to October 31, up by 7.4 percent year-on-year, according to data from the Singapore Tourism Board (STB).
The strong pickup in tourist numbers has been driven by arrivals of Chinese visitors; a customer segment that has recovered strongly since mid-2015, after earlier declines.
The tally of visitor arrivals from China increased by 26.4 percent year-on-year in the 10 months to October 31, to 1.77 million. They accounted for 16.7 percent of the aggregate number of visitor arrivals to Singapore in the period, meaning China overtook Indonesia as Singapore’s largest-single source market for tourists. A total of 1.41 million tourist arrivals to Singapore were generated by Indonesian nationals in the same period, an increase of 7.9 percent from the prior-year period.
Visitor arrivals to Singapore for October-only numbered 966,598, down 2.6 percent from a year earlier. It was the first month in 2016 that the number of tourists to the city-state contracted judged year-on-year, according to official data.
The aggregate figure for the full year might fall short of the STB’s estimate. The tourism authority said earlier this year it expected up to 15.7 million visitor arrivals in 2016, which would represent a growth of 3 percent year-on-year.
Spending among visitors to Singapore has been increasing this year, according to official figures. Tourism receipts increased by 17 percent year-on-year in the second quarter, to SGD6.06 billion (US$4.18 billion), the STB had announced in November.
The Singapore government doesn’t give a detailed breakdown of tourism receipts from the city-state’s two casino resorts. But it said that during the second quarter of 2016 spending on sightseeing, entertainment and gaming fell nearly 18 percent year-on-year to SGD1.08 billion.
The STB had said the contraction for the three months to June 30 was “due largely to a decline in gaming revenue as reported by the integrated resorts”. That was a reference to the casino properties Resorts World Sentosa, operated by Genting Singapore Plc, and Marina Bay Sands, run by a unit of Las Vegas Sands Corp.
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”We expect it [the first phase of casino resort Hoiana in Vietnam] to open in October, and by then basically 90 percent of the first-phase content will be launched – such as the golf course, and hotels”
Andrew Lo Kai Bong
Executive director of project investor Suncity Group