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Singapore clocks 4th straight record year for tourism arrivals and receipts in 2019

BEFORE the Covid-19 pandemic devastated international travel, Singapore had its fourth consecutive record year for tourism in 2019, with healthy growth in the fourth quarter, said a Singapore Tourism Board quarterly report on Tuesday.

International visitor arrivals grew 6.9 per cent year on year in the fourth quarter of last year, to 4.8 million; tourism receipts rose 12.8 per cent to S$7.1 billion.

These took full-year figures to a record 19.1 million arrivals, up 3.3 per cent, and S$27.7 billion in receipts, up 2.8 per cent.

For Q4, tourism receipts grew year on year for all components except food and beverage, which was flat at S$649 million.

Growth was greatest - up 18 per cent to S$2 billion - for "other components", which include airfares on Singapore-based carriers, port taxes, local transport and spending by business, medical, education, and transit or transfer visitors.

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Sightseeing, entertainment, and gaming rose 15 per cent to S$1.59 billion; accommodation rose 13 per cent to S$1.44 billion; and shopping rose 9 per cent to S$1.46 billion.

Excluding spending on sightseeing, entertainment and gaming, mainland China remained the top source of tourism receipts in Q4, at S$900 million, followed by Indonesia at S$810 million and India at S$399 million.

The full-year picture was similar, with those three markets accounting for the largest shares and contributing 41 per cent of tourism receipts in total. They were also the top three sources of visitor arrivals.

Gazetted hotel room revenue for Q4 was S$1.1 billion, up 11 per cent year on year. This took the full-year figure to S$4.2 billion, up 5.2 per cent.

For the full year, the average occupancy rate edged up 0.9 percentage points to 86.9 per cent. The average room rate rose 1.2 per cent to S$221. Revenue per available room was S$192, up 2.3 per cent.

But the Covid-19 pandemic has since taken a toll on global travel. Singapore's visitor arrivals were still up 3.9 per cent year on year in January, but were down 51.1 per cent in February, and down 84.7 per cent in March.

The year-to-date figure for arrivals is 2.7 million, down 43.3 per cent year on year.

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