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Singapore tourism sector performance breaks record in 2017

  • Published by Ozgur Tore

Singapore night

Singapore achieved a record breaking year in tourism last year. Both tourism receipts and visitor arrivals for 2017 attained record highs for the second time in two years.

Tourism receipts rose by 3.9 per cent to S$26.8 billion, due primarily to growth in visitor arrivals across all top 10 markets and higher visitor arrivals from high-spending markets such as China, South Korea, United States (US) and United Kingdom (UK). Visitor arrivals increased by 6.2 per cent to 17.4 million, with 13 of the top 15 markets showing growth.

Tourism Receipts (YTD 3Q2017)
From January to September 2017, tourism receipts grew strongly across most of Singapore’s top 10 markets. China (+10%), US (+22%) and UK (+24%) registered the highest year-on-year absolute growth in Tourism Receipts excluding Sightseeing, Entertainment & Gaming (TRexSEG). China also emerged top in tourism receipts for the third consecutive year. Growth in tourism receipts from China and UK was attributed to an increase in leisure visitors and higher spend on shopping. For US, it was due to more BTMICE3 visitor arrivals and higher spend on shopping.

Declines in tourism receipts were posted by Indonesia (-7%), India (-1%) and Japan (-9%), mostly because of fewer BTMICE visitor arrivals. In the case of India and Japan, this was coupled with BTMICE visitors spending less as well.

By International Visitor Arrivals (2017)
13 out of Singapore’s top 15 markets registered growth in 2017, with seven of them - China, India, Vietnam, Philippines, US, UK and Germany - also hitting record visitor arrivals.

The top three largest markets for visitor arrivals were China, Indonesia, and India. Notably, India (+16%) saw the highest growth rate and, together with China (+13%), contributed to the bulk of the growth in visitor arrivals. Another highlight market for the year was Vietnam (+13%), which became a top 10 market for the first time. Declines in visitor arrivals were posted by Thailand (-3%) and Hong Kong SAR (-13%).

Business Travel and MICE Performance(YTD 3Q2017)
For the first three quarters of 2017, TRexSEG from the Business Travel and Meetings, Incentive Travel, Conventions and Exhibitions (BTMICE) industry grew by 4 per cent to S$3.15 billion compared to the same period in 2016. This was due to BTMICE visitors spending more on Accommodation, Shopping and Other TR Components, which helped to offset the dip of 5 per cent in BTMICE visitor arrivals to 1.75 million.

Hotel Industry Performance
Total gazetted room revenue rose by 3.9 per cent to reach S$3.70 billion in 2017 and hotel occupancy rose by 1.5 percentage points. As at end-December 2017, the total number of hotels in Singapore stood at 420, including 22 new ones that opened in the year. Total supply of rooms expanded by 5 per cent to 67,084.

Cruise Industry Performance
The cruise industry has been growing from strength to strength. In 2017, passenger throughput increased by 17 per cent to 1.38 million, a record high. Total number of ship calls also rose by 3 per cent to reach 421, of which 16 were maiden calls.

2018 Outlook and Forecast
For 2018, STB forecasts tourism receipts to be in the range of S$27.1 to S$27.6 billion (+1 to +3%) and international visitor arrivals to be in the range of 17.6 to 18.1 million (+1 to +4%).

With the global economic outlook looking favourable and Asia-Pacific tourism poised to expand, STB is generally optimistic about tourism prospects for the year ahead. There are challenges that remain, however, especially geopolitical tensions that might affect consumer travel sentiments and intensifying regional competition.

STB will augment its marketing efforts and roll out more initiatives in destination attractiveness and industry competitiveness to stay on course for quality tourism growth.

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