Published on : Thursday, February 23, 2017
Both visitor arrivals and tourism receipts exceeded forecasts to hit historical highs in 2016. While visitor arrivals grew by 7.7 per cent to 16.4 million, tourism receipts rose even higher by 13.9 per cent to $24.8 billion. The strong tourism receipt results came on the back of visitors spending more on Food and Beverage, Shopping and Accommodation.
Chief Executive of Singapore Tourism Board (STB), Mr Lionel Yeo, said, “We are heartened by the strong tourism sector performance in 2016. Despite challenges such as weaker economic performance in some of Singapore’s top source markets and a Zika virus outbreak, Singapore has managed to attract more quality visitors to contribute to economic growth.”
By Tourism Receipts
From January to September 2016, there was good growth in tourism receipts across Singapore’s top ten source markets. For the second consecutive year, China (+41%) ranked top in tourism receipts, followed by Indonesia (+14%) and India (+37%). Tourism receipts from China increased mainly due to a volume-driven growth while Indonesia and India saw tourism receipts growing on the back of visitors spending more on shopping and accommodation.
By International Visitor Arrivals (2016)
For 2016, the top growth markets visitor arrivals in terms of absolute growth were China (+36%), Indonesia (+6%), and India (+8%). The growth was due to more visitor arrivals from Tier 1 and Tier 2 cities in China, India and Indonesia, where STB had intensified its marketing efforts. India also overtook Australia to become Singapore’s 4th largest source market for visitor arrivals.
The largest declines in visitor arrivals were posted by Hong Kong (-12%), Malaysia (-2%), Australia (-2%), South Korea (-2%) and Japan (-1%). The decline for Hong Kong was largely attributed to its weaker economic performance, while Malaysia’s depreciating ringgit dampened travel to Singapore. Visitor arrivals from Western Australia declined as travel sentiment was affected by its slowing mining industry. There was also a drop in Australia’s outbound travel to Europe which affected stopover traffic. For Japan and South Korea, the declines were observed mainly in the last quarter of 2016 after the news of Singapore’s Zika outbreak was widely reported in the markets.
Key Highlights in 2016
Fruition of digital partnerships with Chinese players
Last year, some of the digital partnerships that STB had embarked on with Chinese players since 2015 started to bear fruit. For example, STB launched a marketing campaign, “新有灵犀 从心发现”, with Tuniu and Ctrip to reach its target audience across many Chinese cities. These partnerships also helped promote longer mono-Singapore travel packages that allowed Chinese visitors to experience Singapore in a greater variety of ways. For example, a total of 99,200 mono-Singapore packages were sold by Tuniu, a growth of 52 per cent over 2015.
STB also curated content on Singapore’s tourism offerings for easy access on various digital platforms across China such as WeChat, Tencent, Dianping and Mafengwo. For example, through STB’s Your Singapore WeChat service account, consumers were able to download audio guides through the QR codes embedded at various points of interests within five attractions. Over 120,000 audio guides have been downloaded by Chinese visitors within the year.
Supporting Industry Transformation
In 2016, STB supported a total of 52 technology-related projects by the industry through the Business Improvement Fund and the Experience Step-Up Fund. With STB’s support, industry stakeholders were able to tap on technology to improve their productivity, bring about better business-to-business (B2B) collaboration and enhance visitors’ experience.
STB also worked with the industry last year to roll out key initiatives such as the Hotel Industry Transformation Map and the Travel Agent Roadmap to transform the industries. The Earn-and-Learn Programme as well as the SkillsFuture Study Awards were also launched to nurture a future-ready tourism workforce.
Enhancing destination attractiveness
Singapore’s vibrant tourism landscape was further enhanced with new attractions and lifestyle offerings such as KidZania Singapore, permanent digital art gallery Future World at ArtScience Museum at Marina Bay Sands, COMO Dempsey and the introduction of the Michelin Guide Singapore, as well as rejuvenated tourism offerings such as the Chinatown Heritage Centre and the newly relocated Zouk at Clarke Quay.
The Singapore calendar of events also remained vibrant with new events such as Ultra Singapore and the inaugural HSBC World Rugby Sevens Series, together with its strong after-party element, “Music After 7″ at Clarke Quay.
On the business tourism front, STB supported more than 410 business events held in 2016, a 15 per cent year-on-year growth. These events garnered around 343,000 visitor arrivals, and generated approximately $611 million in tourism receipts, a 20 per cent and 28 per cent increase year-on-year respectively.
In 2016, the cruise industry saw cruise passenger throughput rise by 16 per cent year-on-year to about 1.2 million and welcomed 10 maiden calls. Singapore’s appeal as a cruise destination continued to be recognised with numerous industry accolades, including being ranked the Top Cruise Destination at the Seatrade Cruise Awards and the Top Asian Port of Call at the Cruisers’ Choice Cruise Critic Awards.
STB forecasts tourism receipts to be in the range of $25.1-$25.8 billion (+1 to 4%) and international visitor arrivals to be in the range of 16.4-16.7 million (0 to +2%).
Global economic and political uncertainties will probably continue to persist and there will be increasing regional competition for tourism dollars. However, Singapore can benefit from the projected tourism growth in the Asia-Pacific region.
STB will continue to work closely with tourism partners to intensify our efforts and sustain quality tourism growth.