A growing number of Chinese visitors are helping Singapore’s tourism sector recover this year. A total of approximately 8.17 million tourists visited Singapore in the first six months of 2016, up by 12.5 percent year-on-year, according to data from the Singapore Tourism Board (STB) released this month.
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 number of visitors from China increased by 55.2 percent year-on-year in the six months to June 30, to 1.47 million. They accounted for nearly 18 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.
Following a peak of 15.6 million arrivals in 2013, growth in tourist arrivals to Singapore has stalled, declining to 15.1 million in 2014 and 15.2 million in 2015. According to the STB, it is expected there will be up to 15.7 million arrivals by visitors in 2016, representing a growth of up to 3 percent year-on-year.
On Monday, the STB published data for the city state’s tourism sector performance for the first quarter of 2016. Spending among visitors to Singapore increased by 2 percent year-on-year in the three months to March 31, as tourism receipts reached SGD5.4 billion (US$3.96 billion), the report showed.
The tourism board said spending on shopping, accommodation and restaurants “grew significantly, compensating for the fall in sightseeing, entertainment and gaming”. It said the decline in the latter “was due largely to the decline in gaming revenue as reported by the integrated resorts”.
Singapore has two casino resorts: Resorts World Sentosa, operated by Genting Singapore Plc; and Marina Bay Sands, operated by Las Vegas Sands Corp.
Spending on sightseeing, entertainment and gaming fell by 21 percent year-on-year in the first quarter of 2016, to SGD1.08 billion, according to the STB’s latest quarterly report.
Chinese visitors to Singapore were the biggest spenders in the first quarter of 2016, with a total of SGD790 million, excluding expenditure on sightseeing, entertainment and gaming. Tourists from Indonesia and India ranked second and third in terms of their contribution to tourism receipts during the period, said the STB.
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Lionel Leong Vai Tac
Macau’s Secretary for Economy and Finance