China drives Singapore tourism growth in 2013

Singapore recorded a steady increase in visitor arrivals in 2013, driven by a strong rise in the number of tourists from China.

Singapore welcomed 15.47m international visitors in 2013
Singapore welcomed 15.47m international visitors in 2013

Citing preliminary full-year arrivals data, the Singapore Tourism Board (STB) revealed this week that the city state welcomed 15.47 million visitors in 2013, 7.2% more than during 2012.

And while most visitor source markets contributed more visitors to Singapore last year, it was the performance of mainland China that caught the eye.

In the first three quarters of the year, arrivals from China surged 25.5% to 1.9m, making it Singapore’s second largest source market, behind Indonesia. Much of this growth was driven by new air routes between China and Singapore.

According to the Changi Airport Group, which operates Singapore’s main international gateway, flights were launched to Singapore from seven new Chinese cities last year: Guilin, Jinan, Lijiang, Nanchang, Nanning, Ningbo and Wuxi. This brings Changi’s total number of Chinese connections to 31.

Indonesia remains the largest source of visitors to Singapore, with 2.28m visitors in the first nine months of the year, 9.3% more than the same period in 2012. Malaysia (+3.6% to 909,975), Australia (+10.4% to 842,382), India (+5.0% to 702,924), Japan (+11.7% to 619,374), the Philippines (+3.9% to 506,307), Hong Kong (+17.5% to 416,570), the USA (+4.8% to 372,330) and Thailand (+4.0% to 359,915) completed the top 10. The UK (+4.7% to 346,078) was Singapore’s top European source market in the first three quarters of the year.

In total, Singapore generated tourism revenues of SG$23.5 billion (US$18.7bn) last year, a year-on-year increase of 1.6% and a new annual record.

According to STB’s accommodation data, Singapore’s average hotel occupancy was 86%, marginally down compared to 2012, while average room rates fell 1.4% to SG$258.10 (approximately US$205).

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