Singapore’s visitor arrivals grew 0.9 percent to 15.2 million in 2015, however, the increase in visitors didn’t bring in more income, said the Singapore Tourism Board (STB) in its annual report on Monday.
The total tourism receipts declined by 6.8 percent to 22.0 billion Singapore dollars (15.7 billion U.S. dollars) largely due to a decline in BTMICE (business trips, meetings, incentives, conferences and exhibitions) visitor arrivals and spending. This mixed performance came on the back of various headwinds such as an uncertain global economic outlook and weak currencies in some of Singapore’s top source markets in 2015, STB explained.
“As the average BTMICE visitor spends about two times more than the average leisure visitor, the fall in BTMICE visitor arrivals and spending due to companies cutting back on both travel and trip budgets has had a significant impact on our tourism receipts,” said STB Chief Executive Lionel Yeo.
The top growth-markets for 2015 tourism receipts were Japan and Britain. Tourism receipts from Japan rose due to greater BTMICE traffic, while more leisure visitors from Britain who also spent more helped to boost tourism receipts.
The decline in tourism receipts was most keenly felt in Indonesia, Australia and Malaysia markets. These markets had faced economic challenges and seen their currencies depreciated against the Singapore dollar. Consequently, there were fewer visitor arrivals and less spending from these markets.
The top growth-markets for 2015 visitor arrivals were China, which increased 22 percent, followed by India and South Korea. Notably, there were more visitor arrivals from first and second-tier cities in China and India, where STB had intensified its marketing and channel development efforts.
Looking ahead, STB forecasts tourism receipts to be in the range of 22.0 billion to 22.4 billion Singapore dollars (15.7 billion to 16 billion U.S. dollars) and international visitor arrivals in the range of 15.2 million to 15.7 million in 2016.