Updated: 23 Jan 2023 07:18 IST
By Lee Kah Whye
Singapore, Jan 23 (ANI): Driven by strong demand from key markets such as India, Indonesia and Malaysia, Singapore’s tourism sector has recovered strongly in 2022 to beat Singapore Tourism Board’s (STB) original forecast of 4 to 6 million visitors to exceed last year.
Last week, STB revealed that tourist arrivals in Singapore will reach 6.3 million in 2022, led by Indonesia with 1.1 million visitors, followed by India at 686,000 visitors, while 591,000 residents of Malaysia to Singapore on visitor’s passports in the year 2022 came. “due to unforeseen circumstances, tourism activity is now expected to recover to pre-pandemic levels by 2024.”
When the latest numbers are in, tourism receipts (TR) are expected to reach between SGD 13.8 to 14.3 billion (USD 10.5 to 10.8 billion), which is 50 to 52 percent of the pre-pandemic level reached in 2019.
TR reached SGD 8.96 billion (USD 6.8 billion) between January to September 2022. The top TR generating markets were Indonesia, India and Australia, which contributed SGD 1.1 billion, SGD 704 million and SGD 633 million respectively, apart from Sightseeing, entertainment and gaming.
One of the key measures for the tourism industry is length of stay. Singapore is a small island that has been challenged in the past to increase the attractiveness of the city as a destination for travelers. In 2019, the last year before the COVID-19 pandemic, the average length of stay was 3.36 days.
However, in the latest figures released, visitors seem to be spending more time in Singapore compared to the period before the pandemic.
For the last three quarters of the year (April-December 2022), when Singapore no longer requires quarantine for fully vaccinated travelers, the average length of stay was approximately 4.81 days. Indians stayed an average of 8.08 days, which is almost twice the overall average length of stay.
Indian visitors to Singapore are also generally younger. For Indian residents, those aged between 25 and 34 will form the largest group of visitors in 2022 with 199,940. Those aged between 35 and 44 form the second largest group with 151,300, while those aged 45 to 54 are the third largest with 82,340.
Two of the key factors that increased the country’s post-pandemic appeal were the focus on bringing more events to Singapore and new attractions.
After the easing of border restrictions in the second quarter of 2022, the number of MICE (Meetings, Incentives, Conferences and Exhibitions) events grew exponentially as the city was one of the first in the region to fully reopen.
Marquee international events have returned to Singapore, including Food and Hotel Asia – Food & Beverage and Food and Hotel Asia – HoReCa, which took place for the first time as two dedicated fairs, ITB Asia, and Singapore Fintech Festival, which attracted record attendance has from over 115 countries. STB has also secured new events such as FIND: Design Fair Asia as well as Global Health Security Conference 2022 and the 14th World Stroke Congress.
Sports and leisure events have also recovered strongly. The Singapore Formula 1 Grand Prix was held for the first time in three years in 2022 and drew a record crowd of 302,000, half of them from overseas. Other events include the Tour de France Prudential Singapore Criterion (held for the first time in Southeast Asia), the Singapore Food Festival, Christmas Wonderland, Christmas on a big street on Orchard Road, the Marina Bay Singapore Countdown and ZoukOut Singapore.
Singapore has also built new attractions and experiences during the pandemic to attract more foreign visitors. These include the Children’s Museum Singapore; Avatar: The Experience at Gardens by the Bay, Sentosa’s Night Luge, Scentopia, Wings of Time and Central Beach Bazaar; a new gallery at the ArtScience Museum’s Future World: “Exploring New Frontiers”; A Minion Perspective Experience at Resorts World Sentosa; Mr. Bucket Chocolaterie in Dempsey; and Singapore Night Safari’s new amphitheater and refreshed Creatures of the Night Show.
STB expects the tourism sector to continue its growth momentum this year, on the back of increasing flight connectivity and capacity, and the gradual opening of China. International visitor arrivals are expected to reach about 12 to 14 million visitors, bringing in about SGD 18 to 21 billion (USD 13.6 to 15.9 billion) in tourism receipts – about two-thirds to three-quarters of levels in 2019.
New or refreshed attractions are also planned for 2023, such as Bird Paradise @ Mandai Wildlife Reserve, and new experiences in Orchard Road such as the Trifecta integrated sports facility. STB will also monetarily support business and leisure events over the next two years.
Keith Tan, Chief Executive, STB, said: “Our 2022 tourism performance underscores Singapore’s appeal as a leading business and leisure destination for post-pandemic travelers. year-round calendar of events, increasing investment in new and refreshed products and experiences, and support industry efforts to build the capabilities they need to meet consumer demands. (ANI)