Singapore

Tourist arrivals up but spending down in first half of year

Spending by tourists fell in the first half of this year, as the number of tourist arrivals in Singapore rose 1.3 per cent to reach 9.3 million.

Visitors spent $13.1 billion here between January and June, a 3 per cent decline compared with the same period last year, according to figures released by the Singapore Tourism Board (STB) yesterday.

They spent less on accommodation (down 13 per cent), food and beverage (down 5 per cent) and sightseeing, entertainment and gaming (down 2 per cent).

But there was good news for retailers, with spending on shopping increasing by 2 per cent to reach $2.8 billion.

A miscellaneous category that covers things such as airfare expenditure on Singapore-based carriers, local transportation and medical tourism also grew by 1 per cent to $3.7 billion.

Gazetted hotel room revenue, meanwhile, grew 1.7 per cent year-on-year to about $1.9 billion.

China, Indonesia and India remained the biggest sources of visitors and spending, though spending by Chinese and Indian visitors fell by 5 per cent and 12 per cent respectively.

The United States registered the highest growth in both categories, with some 361,000 visitors - a 10 per cent rise from the same period last year - who spent $407 million, an 11 per cent increase.

STB's director for digital transformation Poh Chi Chuan attributed the overall decline in tourism receipts between January and June to lower spending in the leisure and business events sectors.

Visitor arrivals this year continues to rise, with 12.9 million recorded between January and August this year, a near-2 per cent year-on-year increase, Mr Poh said.

However, headwinds are likely to affect Singapore's tourism performance this year, particularly in spending, he added.

The STB's efforts to combat this include diversifying source markets and an array of upcoming attractions, including a new tourism development in the Jurong Lake District.

TOURISM & TRAVEL