Singapore, Feb 1 (PTI) Singapore received 1.1 million tourists from India last year as the city state’s top dollar-earning sector recorded a 115 per cent increase in the number of visitors in 2023 at 13.6 million from 6.3 million during the COVID-hit 2022, said a media report on Thursday.
The number of tourists in 2023 met the Singapore Tourism Board's (STB) forecast of between 12 million and 14 million visitors.
This is about 71 per cent of the number in 2019 before international travel came to a halt in 2020 due to the COVID-19 pandemic, Channel News Asia reported, citing data from the STB.
The increase in visitor arrivals was driven by strong demand from a mix of Singapore’s key markets, led by neighbouring and traditional visitor-generating markets of Indonesia (2.3 million), China (1.4 million) and immediate neighbour Malaysia (1.1 million).
India was ranked as the fifth tourism-generating market with 1.1 million visitors, after Australia which also sent 1.1 million tourists to the city-state during the year.
Singapore's tourism receipts are expected to register 24.5 billion Singaporean dollars (USD 18.2 billion) to 26 billion Singaporean dollars for 2023, which exceeds STB’s forecast of between 18 billion Singaporean dollars to 21 billion Singaporean dollars.
This is about 88 to 94 per cent of 2019 levels, according to figures released by STB on Thursday.
Tourism receipts reached 20.1 billion Singaporean dollars between January to September 2023. The final figures for tourism receipts will be available in the second quarter of 2024.
STB also said visitors spent more time in Singapore compared to before the pandemic. The average length of stay in 2023 was approximately 3.8 days, an increase compared to 3.4 days for the same period in 2019.
“Singapore’s tourism sector recovered strongly and demonstrated resilience with a solid performance for 2023,” STB said.
STB said it expects the tourism sector’s recovery to continue in 2024, driven by improved global flight connectivity and capacity as well as the implementation of the mutual 30-day visa-free travel between China and Singapore.
Singapore and China had agreed to a 30-day mutual visa-free entry for their citizens last week.
Under the agreement, Singaporeans and Chinese citizens holding ordinary passports can enter China or Singapore without a visa for no more than 30 days if they are travelling for business, sightseeing, visiting friends and family, or other private affairs.
The arrangement will formally start on February 9, the eve of the Chinese New Year.
“In 2024, international flight capacity is expected to continue to increase, with capacity at or approaching pre-pandemic levels for the majority of our key source markets,” STB said.
International visitor arrivals are expected to reach around 15 to 16 million in 2024, bringing in approximately 26.0 billion Singaporean dollars to 27.5 billion Singaporean dollars in tourism receipts.
Geopolitical uncertainty, the state of the global economy and other factors such as the continued restoration of flight connectivity will have a bearing on the pace of travel recovery, STB added.
“To sustain our growth in 2024 and beyond, STB will focus on achieving quality tourism, cultivating strategic partnerships, investing in new and refreshed products and experiences, and supporting stakeholders in building capabilities,” said STB chief executive Melissa Ow.
For hotels, the average room rate and revenue per available room exceeded 2019 levels.
The average room rate reached 282 Singaporean dollars, which is about 128 per cent of the rate in 2019, while revenue per available room reached 226 Singaporean dollars, which is about 118 per cent of the figure in 2019.
The average Occupancy Rate was 80.1 per cent in 2023, compared to 86.9 per cent in the same period in 2019.
The hotel industry’s performance in 2023 was driven by stronger demand for leisure and business travel, STB said. PTI GS RUP RUP RUP