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Singapore tourism is expected to recover to pre-pandemic levels by 2024 on the back of a strong recovery trajectory in 2022 and continued growth momentum this year, said Singapore Tourism Board (STB) officials at this morning’s Year-in-Review conference.

Exceeding STB’s forecast of four to six million visitors, the city-state’s international visitor arrivals (IVA) hit 6.3 million in 2022 – about 33 per cent of 2019’s IVA – with key source markets Indonesia (1.1 million), India (686,000) and Malaysia (591,000) leading the way.

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International visitor arrivals hit 6.3 million in 2002, as demand for leisure and business travel scales up; a busy Gardens by the Bay pictured (photo by Karen Yue)

Tourism receipts are estimated to reach S$13.8 billion (S$10.4 billion) to S$14.3 billion, about 50 to 52 per cent of 2019’s takings with top markets, Indonesia, India and Australia contributing S$1.1 billion, S$704 million, and S$633 million respectively.

The average length of stay in Singapore was about 4.81 days (post-quarantine period), compared to 3.36 days for the same period in 2019.

Arrivals were boosted by a number of marquee events in 2022, such as the Formula 1 Singapore Airlines Singapore Grand Prix 2022 that drew a record attendance of 302,000, and Singapore Fintech Festival, which attracted a record turnout from over 115 countries.

In tandem with the stronger demand for leisure and business travel, Singapore’s hotel industry posted an AOR of 79.1 per cent from April to December 2022, compared to 87.3 per cent in the same period in 2019. ARR during this period increased by 17 per cent to S$260, while RevPAR went up by 6.2 per cent to S$206.

In 2022, Singapore’s position as a regional cruise hub also strengthened with more than 230 ship calls and a passenger throughput of 1.2 million, about two-thirds of pre-pandemic levels in 2019.

With increasing flight connectivity and capacity as well as China’s gradual reopening, STB expects the growth momentum to spill into 2023. IVA is expected to reach around 12 million to 14 million visitors, bringing in approximately S$18 billion to S$21 billion in tourism receipts – around two-thirds to three-quarters of 2019 levels.

STB chief executive Keith Tan said the IVA projections are impacted by China’s speed of recovery – “how fast they open and flights are restored”.

He expects to see Chinese arrivals returning to 30 to 60 per cent of 2019’s numbers by the end of 2023.

Moving into the new year, STB will continue to support the development of new and refreshed offerings, such as Bird Paradise @ Mandai Wildlife Reserve, and pump S$110 million into boosting business and leisure events over the next two years. The new year has kicked off strongly with some high-profile events, such as Art SG, South-east Asia’s largest art fair, and Sail GP, which made its Asian debut last week.

Destination marketing through the SingapoReimagine campaign will be intensified in all key markets while the SingapoReimagine Marketing Programme will help local tourism and lifestyle businesses promote Singapore.

To alleviate the manpower crunch, STB will continue to help the tourism sector ramp up hiring, support manpower needs and provide assistance for digital transformation industry-wide. As of September 2022, the total tourism workforce is around 65,000 – about 78 per cent of 2019 levels.

Summing up, Tan said: “To sustain our growth in 2023 and beyond, we will expand our partnerships, build up a rich year-round calendar of events, ramp up investment in new and refreshed products and experiences, and continue to support industry efforts to build the capabilities they need to meet consumer demands.”

 

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