Singapore

Q1 tourist arrivals up 7.1%

After two consecutive years of record highs in visitor arrivals and tourism spending, the Singapore Tourism Board (STB) is "cautiously optimistic" about the streak continuing.

Tourist arrivals were up by 7.1 per cent for the first quarter of this year compared with the same period last year, outgoing STB chief executive Lionel Yeo told The Straits Times.

Some 17.4 million visitors arrived last year and their spending hit $26.8 billion.

"The winds are in our favour because the outbound growth potential in the Asia-Pacific is the highest in the world. In our backyard, there is going to be growth in travel from a growing Asian middle class," said Mr Yeo, adding that Singapore was well positioned to capture its share of the pie.

But increasing competition and the threat of disruption means that Singapore must keep ahead, he said. While there is a higher demand for travel in the region, there has also been a concerted effort by more Asian economies to invest in their own tourism destinations and attractions over the last five to six years.

"The implications for Singapore, I think, is that connectivity and gateway advantages matter, which is why Changi (Airport) is such an important partner for STB."

There are also opportunities for collaboration among Asean nations even as they compete, such as promoting the area's growing cruise industry, said Mr Yeo. - TIFFANY FUMIKO TAY

TOURISM & TRAVEL