Visitor arrivals to Singapore grew 6.2% in 2018, beating expectations and outpacing tourist spending

Published Wed, Feb 13, 2019 · 03:58 AM

VISITOR arrivals to Singapore beat initial forecasts for the year of 2018, but tourism spending did not quite match up even as it saw year-on-year growth, according to data released on Wednesday by the Singapore Tourism Board (STB).

Visitor arrivals to Singapore grew 6.2 per cent to 18.5 million in 2018, exceeding expectations of a forecast 17.6 million to 18.1 million visitors. This came on the back of record levels of growth from seven markets, with double-digit growth from India, the US, Vietnam and the UK.

Preliminary estimates from STB found that tourism receipts (TR), on the other hand, grew marginally by 1 per cent to S$27.1 billion, coming in at the lower end of the full-year forecast of S$27.1 billion to S$27.6 billion. This was bolstered by growth in visitor arrivals across all of Singapore's top 15 markets except South Korea.

However, visitor spending was a mixed bag in terms of performance as declines were seen in shopping, accommodation and food and beverage (F&B) expenditure. This was due to lesser spending on souvenirs and gifts, as well as a higher number of day-trippers and multi-destination visitors resulting in a shorter length of stay.

However, the "other TR components" segment grew by 21 per cent from a year ago, buoyed by an increase airfare revenues owing to growth in visitors arriving via local full-service carriers.

India, Indonesia and China registered the highest growth when it came to TR excluding sightseeing, entertainment and gaming. However, there was a decline in receipts from the US, the Philippines and South Korea.

Growth was seen from most of Singapore's top 15 visitor arrival markets with the exception of South Korea, which remained flat.

Seven out of the 15 markets hit new highs, namely China, India, Philippines, UK, USA, Vietnam, and Germany due to greater outbound travel demand especially in Asia-Pacific, more air connectivity, and an expansion of marketing and trade efforts into more cities within the markets by the STB, said the agency.

Despite the uncertain economic climate ahead, STB expects steady growth in terms of visitor arrivals and tourism receipts in 2019, with new offerings such as the Jewel Changi Airport and Design Orchard in the pipeline.

Tourism receipts are expected to register a growth of 1 to 3 per cent in 2019, amounting to S$27.3 billion to S$27.9 billion. Visitor arrivals are forecasted to grow by 1 to 4 per cent, to come in at 18.7 million to 19.2 million arrivals this year.

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