Decline in Chinese tourists hits Singapore visitor arrivals

International visitor arrivals to Singapore fell 3 per cent in the first half of this year, official data showed on Wednesday.

The decline was partly due to a 30 per cent drop in tourists from China, 

The tourism board said overall arrivals totalled 7.5 million in the six months to June, with second quarter numbers dipping by a sharper 6 per cent.

Travellers from China totalled 871,000 in the first half, almost a third fewer than from the same period last year, the board said.

Tightened regulations 

It said that a tourism law implemented by China in October last year which tightened regulations on overseas travel contributed to the decline.

"In addition, the disappearance of flight MH370, abduction of Chinese visitors in Sabah and political unrest in Thailand have all had a dampening effect on Chinese travel to the region," the board said.

Malaysia Airlines Flight 370 went missing in March while en route from Kuala Lumpur to Beijing carrying 239 people aboard, mostly Chinese.

The aircraft has yet to be found.

In April, a Chinese tourist and a Filipino resort worker were abducted by gunmen at a diving resort in the Malaysian state of Sabah. Both were rescued nearly two months later.

In May, a Chinese fish farm manager was kidnapped near Lahad Datu in Sabah. He has since been released.

Most Chinese tourists visit Singapore, Malaysia and Thailand at the same time as part of large tour groups.

Source: AFP