The Singapore Tourism Board says tourism receipts in the city-state fell by 4.8 percent year-on-year in the first quarter of 2019, to approximately SGD6.54 billion (US$4.7 billion). The decline was despite a slight increase in visitor arrivals during the reporting period, said the tourism board in its latest quarterly report on the performance of the city-state’s tourism sector.
The data published ealier this week show that spending in all major tourism components decreased in the three months to March 31, with the biggest decline recorded in the accommodation segment, down 12 percent from the prior-year period, to nearly SGD1.26 billion.
Tourist spending on sightseeing, entertainment and gaming fell by 3 percent in year-on-year terms, to approximately SGD1.46 billion, accounting for about 22 percent of total tourism receipts in the period.
Singapore is host to two casino resorts: Resorts World Sentosa, operated by Genting Singapore Ltd; and Marina Bay Sands, run by a unit of Las Vegas Sands Corp.
The city-state’s tourism body does not offer a detailed breakdown of services covered in each spending category, but the heading of “gaming, entertainment and sightseeing” includes spending on day tours, entrance fees for attractions and nightspots, and entertainment at the city’s casino resorts.
Visitors to Singapore spent about SGD1.37 billion in shopping in the first quarter, 7 percent less than a year earlier.
Excluding spending on sightseeing, entertainment and gaming, tourists from China were the top spenders in Singapore in the quarter ended March 31, forking out just above SGD1.09 billion, with about half of the spending going to shopping.
Visitor arrivals grew by 1 percent year-on-year to 4.7 million in the first quarter of 2019, driven by growth in the number of Chinese tourists, said the tourism board.
In the first half of 2019, visitor arrivals to Singapore reached slightly above 9.32 million, up 1.4 percent from the comparable period a year earlier.
The number of visitors from China reached approximately 1.81 million in the six months to June 30, up 4.7 percent from the prior-year period, while the tally of visitors from Indonesia fell by 3.3 percent year-on-year to 1.49 million.
Last year, Singapore saw a 6.2-percent increase in tourist volumes. The country’s 18.5 million tourist arrivals for 2018 set a record, while income from tourism rose by 1 percent to SGD27.1 billion.
In February, the tourism board forecast that the annual number of visitors in 2019 would rise by between 1 percent and 4 percent this year to between 18.7 million and 19.2 million, and that the amount they will spend would rise by between 1 percent and 3 percent to between SGD27.3 billion and SGD27.9 billion.
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