STB expects China’s outbound travel to drive Singapore’s tourism growth momentum

 Tuesday, January 17, 2023 


With tourism recovery gaining strength in Singapore in 2022, the Singapore Tourism Board expects the tourism sector to “continue its growth momentum” this year as well on the back of China’s gradual reopening, increasing flight connectivity and capacity.

Juliana Kua, STB assistant chief executive (international group) said that visitor arrivals from China pre-pandemic were about 3.6 million a year. STB expects between 30 per cent to 60 per cent of that number in 2023, depending on the speed of China’s reopening.

The number of visitors to Singapore reached 6.3 million in 2022, exceeding the STB’s forecast of between 4 million and 6 million.

Kua said that two key aspects will affect how strongly this market recovers – how quickly flight capacity ramps up and the pace of relaxation for outbound travel from China.

As of January, there are about 38 weekly flights from Singapore to China, which is about a tenth of the capacity from before the pandemic, she added.

Chinese authorities have also signalled that outbound travel will recover in a “calibrated and careful manner”.

She added that the tourism board is looking at two trends to attract travellers from China – smaller group travel with customised itineraries rather than large tour groups, and “deeper experiences” for tourists rather than ticking things off a bucket list.

International visitor arrivals to Singapore are expected to reach about 12 million to 14 million visitors in 2023, bringing in about S$18 billion to S$21 billion – around two-thirds to three-quarters of tourism receipts in 2019.

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