China becomes Singapore’s Number One Inbound Market

Smiles are back on the face of Singapore tourism authorities as inbound markets are growing again after two years of stagnation. According to the newest data released by the Singapore Tourism Board on September 8th. The City State welcomed 9.8 million international visitors between January and July, a jump of 11.5% over the same period of 2015. In contrary to previous years, growth is recorded for almost all inbound markets. Asia is growing by 13.4% due to China’s strong progression.

Chinese arrivals to Singapore reached, during this period, 1.784 million, a jump of over 49%. China PRC is now Singapore’s largest inbound market, taking over the traditional Indonesia’s market. Indonesia also progressed, but at a much slower pace. Arrivals from the neighbouring country were up by 6.8%, reaching for the first seven months of the year a total of 1.732 million. Malaysia lost its ranking as the third largest inbound market to India. Indian arrivals progressed by 9.4% to 661,000 visitors.

By contrast, the Malaysia tourism market continues to lose ground due to the unfavourable exchange rate of the Malaysian Ringgit to the Singapore dollar. A Singapore dollar is now worth 3 Ringgit on average compared to RM2.45 back to 2013. Total arrivals from Malaysia are down by 1.6% between January and July at 653,050.

Australia is another market affected by currencies fluctuation. The Australian dollar is almost now at equal parity with the Singaporean dollar, down by over 20% over the last two years. In 2013, the Australian dollar was valued at 1.30 S$ but was only worth 1.02 S$ at the end of last week. Australian arrivals consequently progressed only by 1.2% from January to July with 596,215 visitors.

Meanwhile, good performances are recorded in most European markets. During the first seven months of the year, Europe recorded an increase of 9.5% reaching already the million arrivals. While the UK remains Singapore top European market with over 285,000 arrivals (up by 4.8%), Germany recorded the best performance of any European countries, with total arrivals up by 26.5%. Double-digit growth was also recorded for Austria, Ireland,  Poland, and Turkey.

Receipts from tourism show also a favourable trend. During the first quarter of 2016—the last available figures from the Singapore Tourism Board—tourism receipts reached S$5.3 billion, up by 2%. Shopping, accommodation as well as food & beverage expenditures grew significantly, compensating for the fallins sightseeing, entertainment and gaming (SEG) profits, that was due largely to the decline in gaming revenue as reported by the integrated resorts. Gazetted hotel room revenue was estimated at $0.8 billion for the first quarter 2016, a growth of 4.6% year-on-year. The Revenue per Available Room (RevPar) declined however by 2.3% year-on-year due to a weakened Average Room Rate (ARR).