Singapore’s tourism sector recorded a 2.9% growth in visitor arrivals and a 0.2% decline in tourism receipts for the first six months of 2008 as
compared to the same period in 2007. This is based on the 5.1 million visitors who arrived here from January to June this year, generating an
estimated Sin$6.5 billion in tourism receipts.
In the first three months of 2008, visitor arrivals
to Singapore posted a growth of 6.6% compared to the same period last year. However, with
the weakening economic climate, arrivals in April and May 2008 saw a growth of 0.8% against the same months in 2007, while the month of June 2008
recorded a 4.1% decline compared to June last year. Prior to June 2008, Singapore’s tourism sector had achieved 51 consecutive months of
year-on-year growth in visitor arrivals since March 2004.
Singapore Tourism Board attributed the current slowdown in the global economic climate, combined with higher air travel costs, rising fuel prices and exchange rates
as the key
factors causing the slowdown in the growth of Singapore’s tourism sector. Noting these factors, Mr Lim Neo Chian, Chief Executive and Deputy
Chairman of the STB, said, “The recent economic slowdown and rising costs have brought about a general air of uncertainty, which has
impacted consumer sentiments and discretionary spending in many tourism destinations, including Singapore. As a result, Singapore’s inbound
travel, particularly in the last quarter, has been affected. This slowdown in the tourism
sector’s growth may potentially continue into the next few months. We will continue to monitor the situation closely and where necessary, adjust our strategies or review our targets.”
Over the mid to long term, the STB expects the tourism sector to continue to grow. “The exciting line-up of tourism developments coming to
Singapore in the run-up to 2010, such as the annual Formula One race, the upcoming integrated resorts, the new International Cruise Centre,
and Gardens by the Bay, means visitors will have even more reasons to choose Singapore as a destination in the years ahead. I am confident
that the tourism sector’s growth momentum will continue in the mid to long term,” said Mr Lim.
Visitor Arrivals June 2008
In June 2008, visitor arrivals to Singapore were at 816,000, representing a decline of 4.1% compared to June 2007. Visitor days were estimated to reach 3.5 million days, an increase of 5.6% in comparison with June 2007.
Indonesia (153,000), India (83,000), Australia (74,000), P R China (70,000) and Malaysia (53,000) were Singapore’s top five visitor-generating markets. These markets accounted for 53% of total visitor arrivals for the month.
10 out of the top 15 markets experienced a dip in visitor arrivals in June 2008 compared to June 2007. The likely factors for this decline in visitor arrivals include the global economic slowdown, as well as rising inflation and oil prices, which in turn may have impacted consumers’ discretionary spending.
Singapore gazetted hotels were estimated to reap
Sin$177 million in room revenue, representing a growth of 7.5% versus June 2007.
The Average Room Rate
(ARR) in June 2008 was estimated to be Sin$251, representing an increase of 20.1% over June 2007. The Average Occupancy Rate
(AOR) for hotels was estimated to reach 82% in June 2008, posting a 5 percentage point decrease over June 2007. Revenue Per Available Room
(Revpar) grew by 13.1% to reach Sin$205 for June 2008.
Visitor Arrivals First Half of 2008
Despite the recent slowdown in growth, the 5.1 million visitors recorded for January to June 2008 represents the highest visitor arrivals
recorded in the first six-month period of any year. This constitutes about 47% of the STB’s target to welcome 10.8 million visitors in 2008. From
January to June 2007, Singapore welcomed 4.9 million visitors, registering a 5.2% growth over the same period in 2006.
Visitor days from January to June 2008 were estimated to reach 20.4 million, an increase of 13.5% when compared to the same period last year.
Average length of stay by visitors in this period was 3.89 days, a growth of 8.7% compared to January to June 2007.
Indonesia (855,000), P.R. China (591,000), India (414,000), Australia (399,000) and Malaysia (310,000) were Singapore’s top five visitor-generating
markets for the first half of 2008, and accounted for 51% of the total
arrivals from January to June 2008.
Among the top 15 markets, Vietnam (+22%), Australia (+16%), P.R. China (+12%), India (+7%), South Korea (+5%) and Germany (+5%) showed the
highest growth. The good performance of these markets is due largely to the resilience of these markets in the face of the current global
economic slowdown, and in the case of Australia, a strong exchange rate.
In the first six months of 2008, Singapore’s tourism sector also generated an estimated S$6.5 billion in tourism receipts, representing a 0.2%
decrease over the same period in 2007. This accounts for approximately 42% of the STB’s 2008 target to achieve
Sin$15.5 billion in tourism
receipts. By comparison, the sector generated S$6.4 billion in tourism receipts in the first six months of 2007, a
9% increase over the same
period in 2006.
Singapore’s hotel sector continued to show strong results from January to June 2008, with both room revenue and Average Room Rate
(ARR) posting record figures for the first six-month period of any year. During this period, Singapore hotels recorded
Sin$1.1 billion in room revenue, an
increase of 22.2% over the same period in 2007. The ARR for the first six months of 2008 was estimated at
Sin$248, an increase of 29.6% over
January to June 2007. The Average Occupancy Rate (AOR) for hotels was estimated at 83% as at June 2008, a 3.4 percentage point decrease
over the same period last year.
Sustaining the Tourism Sector in the Short Term
To boost visitors and tourism spending in the short term, the STB is looking at a series of targeted marketing efforts and promotional
Outlining the Board’s short term plans, Mr Lim said, “The STB will focus its marketing efforts on key markets that have shown consistent growth,
such as China and India. Emerging markets, such as Russia and the United Arab Emirates, which have posted strong growths of 24.5% and
23.4% respectively in the first six months of 2008, will also be among the STB’s main areas of focus. We will be working closely with industry
partners to implement these marketing initiatives, such as the Uniquely Singapore Weekends campaign, which has also proven to help boost
visitor arrivals since its launch in August 2007.”
Preparing for Long Term Growth
Over the long term, the slew of upcoming tourism developments is set to boost the tourism sector’s growth, and put the STB on track to
achieving its Tourism 2015 targets of attracting 17 million visitor arrivals and generating S$30 billion in tourism receipts by 2015.
With Singapore staging the world’s first night race in Formula One history, the inaugural 2008
Formula 1 SingTel Singapore Grand Prix, in
September 2008, more than 100,000 spectators are expected to attend the event, of which over 40% will be visitors. Incremental tourism receipts
of about Sin$100 million are also expected to be generated from the event annually. In addition, the opening of Singapore’s first two integrated
resorts, The Marina Bay Sands in 2009 and Resorts World at Sentosa in 2010, will see Singapore welcoming more visitors annually.
Other upcoming key events and projects, such as the Volvo Ocean Race 2008/2009, the Youth Olympic Games in 2010, the International Cruise
Terminal opening in 2010, Gardens by the Bay (opening in phases from 2010), the Sports Hub in 2012, and the National Art Gallery in 2013 will
also contribute to the sector’s growth and success.
Visitor Arrivals for May 2008 and other recent news regarding: