The year-on-year decline in the number of mainland Chinese tourists visiting Singapore is likely to slow in the next few months, reported Reuters news service, quoting the city-state’s Straits Times newspaper. Mainland Chinese are among the top customers of the city’s two casino resorts.
Chinese visitor numbers to the Lion City are likely to stabilise in the next few months, with the Chinese New Year holiday on February 19 likely to be a popular time for mainland visitors, said the newspaper, attributing the comments to Singapore Tourism Board (STB), according to the Reuters report.
Data from the STB, released in mid-October, show that in the second quarter, ending June 30, the number of mainland Chinese tourists visiting Singapore fell 47 percent year-on-year, and nearly 44 percent judged quarter-on-quarter.
In June, the Straits Times reported that Changi Airport Group (Singapore) Pte Ltd – operator of Singapore Changi Airport – was collaborating with the STB, the Singapore casino resort operators Las Vegas Sands Corp and Genting Singapore Plc, and “other travel partners” on a SGD1 million (US$771,000) promotional campaign called ‘Rediscover Singapore From Your Heart’, to attract more visitors.
A recent report from the World Travel and Tourism Council (WTTC) and the World Tourism Organization (UNWTO), an agency of the United Nations, suggested that easing visa restrictions for tourists from key markets including China, India and Russia could help Singapore attract 358,000 to 504,000 more visitors in 2016.
On November 6, a letter published by Today newspaper in Singapore, from Shameem Mustaffa, director of research for Singapore Tourism Board, clarified a difference in the way it measures visitor numbers compared to UNWTO, and explaining that this affects the base number.
She stated: “STB’s published data on visitor arrivals include both overnight and same-day visitors, while the World Tourism Organization’s arrival figure captures only overnight visitors.”
Ms Mustaffa added: “Improvement in visa procedures is only one of many factors driving tourism growth. The STB focuses on achieving quality and sustainable growth that generates high yield from each visitor.”
The STB said in a report on the country’s inbound tourism market for the second quarter, published in mid-October, that the number of Chinese visitors that stayed for at least two days during that period jumped by 21 percent year-on-year. For the first time they outnumbered those who spent one day or fewer than 24 hours in Singapore, added the STB.
On November 11, Genting Singapore, operator of Resorts World Sentosa, reported that its third-quarter net profit after taxation fell 43 percent year-on-year, to SGD127.1 million (US$98.2 million). The firm cited bad luck in terms of VIP table games hold percentage as one cause.
Net revenue at Las Vegas Sands Corp’s Marina Bay Sands (MBS) resort fell 5 percent year-on-year to US$736 million in the third quarter.
(This story was amended at 4.05pm on November 19 following a request for clarification from WTTC)
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