The Singapore Tourism Board says tourism receipts in the city-state fell by 1.3 percent year-on-year in the second quarter of 2019, to approximately SGD6.51 billion (US$4.78 billion). The decline was despite a slight increase in visitor arrivals during the reporting period, said the tourism authority in its latest quarterly report on the performance of the city-state’s tourism sector.
The data published earlier this month show that aggregate tourist spending in the quarter was pegged back by a decline in the accommodation segment, down 13 percent from the prior-year period, to nearly SGD1.31 billion.
Tourist spending on sightseeing, entertainment and gaming fell by 1 percent in year-on-year terms, to just above SGD1.44 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 nearly SGD1.39 billion in shopping in the three months to June 30, 11 percent higher than a year earlier.
Excluding spending on sightseeing, entertainment and gaming, tourists from China were the top spenders in Singapore in the April to June period, forking out SGD897 million, with about half of the spending going to shopping. Their spending was 10 percent lower from the prior-year period.
Visitor arrivals grew by 1.7 percent year-on-year to 4.6 million in the second 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 1.3 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.
Tourism receipts in the first half of 2019 stood at SGD13.06 billion, down 1.3 percent from a year earlier. Tourist spending on sightseeing, entertainment and gaming declined by 2 percent in year-on-year terms, to nearly SGD2.90 billion, said the tourism body.
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 amount tourists would spend in the city would rise by between 1 percent and 3 percent to between SGD27.3 billion and SGD27.9 billion.
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”There are likely to be cancellations of some Chinese New Year casino and junket parties and events [in Macau]”
Vitaly Umansky, Eunice Lee and Kelsey Zhu
Sanford Bernstein analysts