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Singapore's tourism receipts down 39% in first quarter

SINGAPORE'S tourism receipts took a hit in the first quarter of this year amid the Covid-19 pandemic, sinking 39 per cent from the year-ago period to S$4 billion, according to figures released on Friday in the Singapore Tourism Board's (STB) quarterly report.

STB said the decrease in tourism receipts was observed across the board. Takings from the shopping component saw the sharpest fall, as they were more than halved (52 per cent) to S$656 million. 

The sightseeing, entertainment and gaming component registered a 41 per cent decline to S$858 million.

Food and beverage brought in S$376 million during the quarter, down 36 per cent from a year ago, while tourism receipts from accommodation dropped by 31 per cent to S$862 million.

Other components - accounting for about one-third of total tourism receipts - decreased by 34 per cent to about S$1.28 billion. This category includes airfare expenditure on Singapore-based carriers, port taxes, local transportation, as well as expenditure by visitors who came to Singapore for business, medical, education and transit/transfer purposes.

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Excluding expenditure on sightseeing, entertainment and gaming, mainland China was Singapore's top tourism receipt-generating market in the first quarter, contributing S$471 million.

It was followed by Indonesia at S$421 million, and India at S$238 million.

Together, the three markets accounted for 37 per cent of Singapore's tourism receipts, not including sightseeing, entertainment and gaming.

STB said it excluded sightseeing, entertainment and gaming data in the country analysis due to the commercial sensitivity of the information.

Meanwhile, international visitor arrivals to Singapore for the first quarter declined by 43.2 per cent on the year to 2.7 million visitors.

Indonesia brought in the highest number of international visitors to Singapore with 443,000 arrivals, followed by mainland China with 337,000 visitors, Australia with 204,000, India with 170,000 and Malaysia with 146,000.

These five markets accounted for almost half (49 per cent) of all international visitor arrivals in January to March this year.

Visitor figures from mainland China clocked the largest absolute year-on-year decline, plunging 65 per cent. The next biggest absolute declines were observed from Indonesia with a 39 per cent drop, and Malaysia with 48 per cent fall.

In the hotel industry, gazetted hotel room revenue for Q1 shrank by 30.9 per cent year on year to S$687.3 million, according to STB's report.

This came as the average occupancy rate was 27.2 percentage points lower at 58.6 per cent for the quarter, while the average room rate edged down by 1.2 per cent to S$215. As a result, the revenue per available room slipped 32.5 per cent to S$126.

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