The number of Chinese visitors to Singapore continues to decline in 1Q 2014 but at a reduced pace than in the previous quarter, though overall international visitor arrivals held steady at 3.9 million. Four out of the country’s top five markets registered negative growth. According to Singapore Tourism Board’s (STB) Tourism Sector Performance Q1 2014 Report released today, Chinese arrivals registered a 14 per cent dive year-on-year to 557,000 as the effects of China’s new tourism law implemented last October continues to be felt. Nevertheless, the rate of decline has slowed from 31 per cent in 4Q 2013.
Tourism receipts generated by the Chinese, however, did not see as huge a drop, dipping only by one per cent in 1Q 2014. Chinese visitors spent 48 per cent of travel expense on shopping, the highest among Singapore’s top 10 markets. Chinese travelers also spent 21 per cent on accommodation, eight per cent on F&B and 23 per cent on other components. Despite the fewer visitor numbers, China dominates in terms of tourism receipts excluding expenditure on sightseeing, entertainment and gaming. It generated S$800 million (US$644.7 million), compared to Indonesia’s S$658 million and India’s S$284 million.
Given the significance of Chinese tourists to Singapore’s tourism revenues, STB this year launched a dedicated campaign to woo Chinese visitors with the slogan Rediscover Singapore From Your Heart. For 1Q2014, Indonesia was Singapore’s top source market as it grew six per cent to 749,000 arrivals. China came in second, followed by Malaysia that fell one per cent to 288,000 arrivals, Australia weakening two per cent to 270,000 arrivals and Japan, also dropping two per cent to 215,000 arrivals.
Of Singapore’s 15 biggest source markets, South Korea and Vietnam notched the strongest improvement in arrivals at 17 per cent and 13 per cent respectively. Despite these challenges, Singapore’s hotel industry posted a strong performance for the quarter with a 12 per cent rise in gazetted hotel room revenue at S$800 million. Average room rate crept up 2.7 per cent to S$261, driven by growth in the luxury segment. Average occupancy inched up 0.4 percentage points to 86 per cent, while RevPAR rose 2.2 per cent to S$224. The luxury tier recorded the strongest growth rate at 11.9 per cent.