While total international arrivals to Singapore increased by 1.4% for the first half of 2019 reaching close to 9.5 million visitors, spending are going down, declining by almost 5% during the first quarter of the year.
Singapore tourism is turning increasingly mature with growth rates rarely exceeding now 5% per annum. 2019 is no exception, growth being even weaker than last year. According to the first data of Singapore Tourism Board, the city state recorded only a plus of 1.4% in total international arrivals during the first half of 2019, reaching a total of 9,35 million.
Arrivals from Southeast Asia were sluggish during the same period, declining by 1.54% with important source markets such as Indonesia or Thailand registering a sharp decline in arrivals, respectively at 3.3% and 6.5%. Northeast Asia and China still maintain growth momentum, up respectively by 3.65% and 4.69%.
From overseas, the strongest growth came from the Americas, up by 9.3%, followed by Europe with a growth of 4.7% and the Pacific with 2.3%.
However, while tourist arrivals continue to progress, spending per tourist capita is down, a true concern for both authorities and the travel industry. According to data for the first quarter -which were released earlier in the month- visitors spent less. Authorities put the blame on global economic uncertainties.
Tourism spending was $6.5 billion between January and March, a 4.8 per cent decline compared to the same period in 2018, the Singapore Tourism Board (STB) said in its quarterly report on Monday (Aug 5).
Visitors spent less on shopping (down 7 per cent), accommodation (down 12%), food and beverage (down 7%) and sightseeing, entertainment and gaming (down 3%). The only sector recording a growth of 2% was the category under ‘miscellaneous’.
This category includes various items such as airfares on Singapore-based carriers, local transportation and business as well as medical tourism. If spending for accommodation was down in its totality, gazetted hotel room revenue grew meanwhile by 4.3% to hit S$1 billion. Average room rate is up by 1% since the start of the year, reaching on average $222.