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Singapore sees modest monthly growth in August visitor numbers, hotel room revenue

SINGAPORE'S tourism sector saw a modest month-on-month improvement in international visitor numbers in August, as arrivals from China nearly doubled.

But pandemic-era industry metrics still pale against the year before, according to data published by the Singapore Tourism Board (STB) on Thursday.

Some 8,910 visitors touched down on Singapore's shores in August, up by 30.3 per cent from 6,840 in July but down sharply from 1.74 million in the year-ago period.

Meanwhile, the hotel industry took in S$58 million in room revenue, up from S$35.1 million in July but 84.9 per cent lower than the S$383.5 million in August 2019.

Revenue per available room (RevPAR), a key indicator for hoteliers, stood at S$71.8. It improved from the S$53.6 notched in July, though down 65.5 per cent year on year.

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But average occupancy slipped on a monthly basis to 62.1 per cent, down by three percentage points from 65.1 per cent in July. The occupancy rate was 92.4 per cent in August 2019.

The latest monthly increase in visitor numbers came on a jump in arrivals from the Greater China region to about 2,620 in August, from 1,410 in July.

Visitors from South-east Asia, another major sending region, rose to 2,830, from 2,310 in July. Indonesian arrivals made up more than a third of these.

The STB defines international visitors as people who spend less than a year in Singapore. This excludes returning citizens, permanent residents and pass holders; Malaysians arriving by land; non-resident air and sea crew; and air transit passengers.

Singapore hit a trough in visitor numbers in April, after an unprecedented suspension of short-term visitors and transit passengers on March 23.

The tourism industry, which is typically 4 per cent of the economy, has been hit hard by the Covid-19 pandemic and international border controls adopted to curb its spread. In a bid to revive the sector, the government launched a S$45 million campaign in late-July to boost domestic tourism.

That's as most short-term visitors are still not allowed in. However, entry restrictions have been gradually eased since the introduction of a "fast lane" with parts of China in June. Singapore has also reopened to travellers from countries such as Brunei, South Korea and Japan.

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