Singapore: Tourist arrivals, spending hit record high for 2nd straight year; China top source of visitors

  • Singapore hit a record high in tourist arrivals and spending for the second year in a row in 2017, with China overtaking Indonesia as the top source of visitors for the first time.
  • The overall number of arrivals increased year on year by 6.2% to 17.4 million, while tourism receipts rose by 3.9% to SGD26.8bn, according to preliminary estimates released by the Singapore Tourism Board (STB) on 12 Feb 18.
  • The jump in spending was driven by the growth in arrivals across all 10 of Singapore’s top markets, including high-spending ones such as China, South Korea and the United States.
  • Chinese tourists were the biggest spenders for the third year in a row, spending SGD3.08bn, while tourists from Indonesia spent SGD1.98bn.
  • Visitors from Britain and the US posted the highest growth in spending based on 3Q17 estimates on a y/y basis.
  • Visitors to the Republic spent 9% more on shopping between Jan and Sep 17, compared with the same period in 2016, while sightseeing, entertainment and gaming enjoyed a 6% boost.
  • The food and beverage sector saw a 5% dip as tourists chose to forgo fine dining for casual eating and hawker fare.
  • The top three largest markets for visitor arrivals were China, Indonesia, and India, where the STB has been courting tourists from Tier 1 and Tier 2 cities.
  • There were an estimated 3.23 million tourists from China in 2017, compared with 2.95 million from Indonesia, which is traditionally Singapore’s top source of visitors.
  • India edged out Malaysia for third place and saw the highest growth rate, at 16%, while Hong Kong posted the largest decline (-13%) for the second year in a row.
  • Higher spending by visitors on accommodation and shopping helped the business events sector to grow by 4% to SGD3.15bn for the first three quarters of 2017, despite a 5% dip in the number of these travellers to 1.75 million.
  • Meanwhile, the cruise industry continued its double-digit y/y growth from 2016, with passenger traffic increasing 17% last year to 1.38 million, a record high for the third year running.
  • For 2018, STB forecasts tourism receipts to grow by between 1% and 3%, and visitor arrivals to be in the range of 17.6 million to 18.1 million, an increase of 1% to 4%.

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