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photo: sme.org.my

Singapore tourism sector performance breaks record for the second year running in 2017

Both tourism receipts and visitor arrivals for 2017 attained record highs for the second time in two years. announced the Singapore Tourism Board (STB).

According to STB, tourism receipts rose by 3.9 percent to S$26.8 billion, due primarily to growth in visitor arrivals across all top 10 markets and higher visitor arrivals from high-spending markets such as China, South Korea, United States (US) and United Kingdom (UK).

Visitor arrivals increased by 6.2 percent to 17.4 million, with 13 of the top 15 markets showing growth.

Chief Executive of Singapore Tourism Board (STB), Mr Lionel Yeo, said, "STB is pleased to report a second consecutive year of record tourism performance.  The combined efforts of STB and our industry partners yielded strong results, against a context of better-than-expected global economic recovery, continued growth in Asia-Pacific travel and increased flight and cruise connectivity to Singapore.  Together with significant initiatives to support industry innovation and competitiveness, we made excellent progress in 2017 towards our vision of quality tourism growth."

STB stated that from January to September 2017, tourism receipts grew strongly across most of Singapore's top 10 markets. China, US and UK registered the highest year-on-year absolute growth in Tourism Receipts excluding Sightseeing, Entertainment & Gaming (TRexSEG). China also emerged top in tourism receipts for the third consecutive year.

Growth in tourism receipts from China and UK was attributed to an increase in leisure visitors and higher spend on shopping. For US, it was due to more Business Travel and Meetings, Incentive Travel, Conventions and Exhibitions (BTMICE) visitor arrivals and higher spend on shopping.

Declines in tourism receipts were posted byIndonesia, India and Japan, mostly because of fewer BTMICE visitor arrivals. In the case of India and Japan, this was coupled with BTMICE visitors spending less as well.

The board also noted that 13 out of Singapore's top 15 markets registered growth in 2017, with seven of them - China, India, Vietnam, Philippines, US, UK and Germany - also hitting record visitor arrivals.

The top three largest markets for visitor arrivals were China, Indonesia, and India. Notably, India saw the highest growth rate and, together with China, contributed to the bulk of the growth in visitor arrivals. Another highlight market for the year was Vietnam, which became a top 10 market for the first time. Declines in visitor arrivals were posted by Thailand and Hong Kong SAR.

Commenting on the strong growth in visitor arrivals for 2017, particularly from US, Mr Darren Tan, Managing Director of inbound travel agency World Express Group, said, "We saw an over 15 per cent year-on-year growth in our US arrivals in 2017, with most of the growth coming during the year-end winter season. We see mainly two types of clients – those here on fly-cruise programmes and leisure travellers who came here on tour groups or for individual travel."

"The growth could be attributed to more in-market promotions driven by both STB and the private sector, and good value in airfares and hotel rates. We are optimistic that 2018 will be an even stronger year for the US market," he added. For the first three quarters of 2017, TRexSEG from the Business Travel and Meetings, Incentive Travel, Conventions and Exhibitions (BTMICE) industry grew by 4 per cent to S$3.15 billion compared to the same period in 2016.

Total gazetted room revenue rose by 3.9 per cent to reach S$3.70 billion in 2017 and hotel occupancy rose by 1.5 percentage points. As at end-December 2017, the total number of hotels in Singapore stood at 420, including 22 new ones that opened in the year. Total supply of rooms expanded by 5 per cent to 67,084.

It noted the cruise industry which has grown from strength to strength.  In 2017, passenger throughput increased by 17 per cent to 1.38 million, a record high. Total number of ship calls also rose by 3 per cent to reach 421, of which 16 were maiden calls.

The board stated that STB and the Economic Development Board (EDB) introduced a unified brand for Singapore last year – Passion Made Possible, which connects Singapore with the international audience on a deeper level through authentic stories and representations about Singapore and Singaporeans.

"The new destination brand was launched in Singapore in August 2017, followed by 17 overseas markets through consumer activations, trade events, industry partnerships, and global marketing campaigns featuring campaign films and visuals," it said.

According to the board, response from international media and trade partners has been very positive, with most applauding the fresh and inspirational approach to destination marketing. There was also good international media coverage, generating a total media value of S$11.3 million. The new brand films garnered a total of more than 192 million video views, and social media engagements on the new brand hit 3.19 million.

For 2018, STB forecasts tourism receipts to be in the range of S$27.1 to S$27.6 billion and international visitor arrivals to be in the range of 17.6 to 18.1 million.