Tourism sector sees revival as Q1 visitor numbers jump 14%

After a dismal performance last year, the tourism sector has revived in the first quarter of this year. The number of tourist arrivals in the first quarter was 4.1 million, up 14 per cent from the same period last year. As of June, arrivals had reached about 8.17 million, up 12.5 per cent from last year.

Tourism receipts totalled S$5.4 billion in the first three months of this year, up 2 per cent from last year, while gazetted hotel room revenue was S$800 million, up 4.6 per cent.

The growth in the first quarter reverses the declines seen last year � in the first quarter last year, tourist arrivals fell 6 per cent from same period in 2014, receipts fell 14 per cent, and gazetted hotel room revenue fell 3 per cent.

Releasing the figures on Monday (Aug 29), the Singapore Tourism Board (STB) said spending on shopping, accommodation and food and beverage expenditures grew significantly in the first quarter, which made up for the decline in spending on sightseeing, entertainment and gambling (SEG), which shrank largely due to the decline in gaming revenue reported by the integrated resorts.

Spending on shopping grew 25 per cent to about S$1.2 billion, while spending on accommodation grew 7 per cent to S$1.67 billion. Spending on SEG however, fell 21 per cent to about S$1.08 billion, although it still made up 20 per cent of overall receipts.

Last year, Singapore saw tourism spending fall for the first time in six years, even as tourist arrival numbers exceeded targets. Spending fell by 6.8 per cent to S$22 billion.

Amid economic uncertainty and regional competition, the STB is aiming to increase tourism receipts by 2 per cent this year to reach S$22.4 billion, and arrivals by 3 per cent to 15.7 million visitors.

Excluding spending on SEG, tourists from China were the biggest spenders (S$790 million), followed by Indonesia (S$588 million) and India (S$285 million).

Visitors from China also made up most of the arrivals in the first quarter (747,000), followed by Indonesia (704,000) and Malaysia (270,000).

The STB noted that although the Average Occupancy Rate (AOR) at hotels has edged up to 84 per cent in the first quarter, the Revenue per Available Room (RevPar) declined by 2.3 per cent year-on-year to S$202, due to a weakened Average Room Rate (ARR).

ARR fell 2.9 per cent to reach S$239, continuing a decline seen last year. At the top end, ARR was S$444 at luxury hotels, down 1.6 per cent, while at the economy end, the ARR was S$100, down 2.5 per cent.

Source: Government of Singapore

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