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Singapore: 1.1M Indian Tourists, Overall Arrivals Hit 13.6M in 2023

In 2023, Singapore experienced a remarkable resurgence in its tourism sector, marked by a substantial increase in visitor numbers and robust revenue growth. According to reports, the city-state welcomed 13.6 million tourists, a staggering 115% surge from the pandemic-affected 2022, when the number stood at 6.3 million. This figure not only met but exceeded the Singapore Tourism Board's (STB) forecast of 12 million to 14 million visitors. Despite the ongoing global impact of the COVID-19 pandemic, this achievement represents around 71% of the pre-pandemic 2019 tourist numbers.

The surge in visitor arrivals was attributed to strong demand from key markets, notably Indonesia (2.3 million), China (1.4 million), and Malaysia (1.1 million). India secured the fifth position, contributing significantly with 1.1 million visitors. Australia also played a notable role by sending an equal number of tourists to Singapore during the year.

Remarkably, the tourism receipts for 2023 are anticipated to reach between 24.5 billion and 26 billion Singaporean dollars (USD 18.2 billion), surpassing STB's earlier forecast of 18 billion to 21 billion Singaporean dollars. This remarkable performance represents 88% to 94% of the 2019 levels. The figures released by STB indicate that tourism receipts amounted to 20.1 billion Singaporean dollars between January and September 2023, with the final numbers set to be available in the second quarter of 2024.

Singaporean officials also highlighted the increased duration of visitors' stays in the city-state compared to pre-pandemic levels. The average length of stay in 2023 was approximately 3.8 days, an improvement from 3.4 days in the same period in 2019.

The Singapore Tourism Board expressed optimism for the industry's continued recovery in 2024. This optimism is grounded in expectations of improved global flight connectivity, increased capacity, and the recent agreement between Singapore and China for mutual 30-day visa-free travel. The agreement, effective from February 9, allows citizens from both countries to enter without a visa for up to 30 days, covering purposes such as business, tourism, visiting friends and family, and private affairs.

STB anticipates international flight capacity to approach or reach pre-pandemic levels in 2024, contributing to an estimated 15 to 16 million international visitor arrivals. This influx is projected to generate tourism receipts ranging from 26.0 billion to 27.5 billion Singaporean dollars.

However, the pace of recovery is expected to be influenced by factors such as geopolitical uncertainty, the global economic situation, and the ongoing restoration of flight connectivity. To sustain growth, STB plans to focus on quality tourism, strategic partnerships, investment in new experiences, and supporting stakeholders in building capabilities.

For the hotel industry, 2023 saw positive performance indicators, with average room rates and revenue per available room surpassing 2019 levels. The average room rate reached 282 Singaporean dollars (128% of the 2019 rate), while revenue per available room reached 226 Singaporean dollars (118% of the 2019 figure). The average occupancy rate was 80.1% in 2023, slightly lower than the 86.9% recorded in the same period in 2019. This performance was driven by increased demand for leisure and business travel, according to STB. Overall, the strong recovery in Singapore's tourism sector in 2023 sets a positive tone for the industry's trajectory in the coming years.

Feb. 3, 2024 1:20 p.m. 1962

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