Singapore tourism expected to recover to pre-pandemic levels as of next year
With visitor arrivals creep back to pre-pandemic levels as arrival rebound, the Singapore Tourism Board (STB) has predicted that activity in the industry is expected to recover to pre-pandemic levels by 2024.
Revealing that the city-state's international visitor arrivals reached 6.3 million last year, exceeding its forecast of between 4 and 6 million visitors, the STB yesterday advised that, barring unexpected circumstances, tourism activity is expected to recover to pre-pandemic levels by 2024.
The 2022 figure is about one-third of the arrival figures for 2019 - the year before the pandemic struck - while tourism receipts are estimated to reach $$13.8 billion to $$14.3 billion for 2022, about 50 to 52% of 2019 receipts.
Commenting on the performance, STB Chief Executive, Keith Tan stated “our 2022 tourism performance underscores Singapore’s appeal as a leading business and leisure destination for post-pandemic travellers.
"To sustain our growth in 2023 and beyond, we will expand our partnerships, build up a rich year-round calendar of events, ramp up investment in new and refreshed products and experiences, and continue to support industry efforts to build the capabilities they need to meet consumer demands.”
Visitor arrivals were driven by strong demand from Singapore’s key source markets, led by Indonesia (1.1 million visitors), India (686,000) and Malaysia (591,000). The top tourism receipt-generating markets were Indonesia ($1.1 billion), India ($704 million) and Australia ($633 million).
Visitors are also spending more time in Singapore compared to before the pandemic. For the last three quarters of 2022 (April to December) when Singapore no longer required quarantine for fully-vaccinated travellers, the average length of stay was approximately 4.81 days - a significant increase compared to 3.36 days for the same period in 2019.
The resumption of MICE (Meetings, Incentives, Conventions and Exhibitions) events picked up pace, with marquee international events such as Food and Hotel Asia, ITB Asia and Singapore Fintech Festival.
The calendar of leisure and sporting events also recovered strongly. The Formula 1 Singapore Airlines Singapore Grand Prix was held after a two-year hiatus, drawing a record attendance of 302,000; the Tour de France Prudential Singapore Criterium also made its South east Asian debut.
New and enhanced experiences were introduced at the tourist attractions, while park connectors and nature parks were opened to enhance Singapore attractiveness.
STB also organised the inaugural Wellness Festival Singapore in June last year, to meet the increasing demand for holistic wellness offerings. It also launched an Expression-of-Interest (EOI) in November to develop a wellness attraction on the southern coast of Singapore.
STB’s Director of Communications Terrence Voon noted that tourists spent mostly on accommodation, shopping and other expenses such as airfares from Singapore carriers. Advising “we believe this took up a larger share of the pie, partly because of the increase in airfares.”
Voon added that the strong performance for 2022 was achieved even though quarantine measures in Singapore were in place for the first quarter of last year, China’s borders remained closed and flight capacity was limited.
To support tourism recovery, STB has allocated S$110 million of the S$500 million set aside for Singapore’s tourism recovery to ramp up business and leisure events over the coming two years.
STB will continue to help the tourism sector in staff hiring to support the pace of recovery via the Tourism Careers Hub, which has placed more than 500 workers in the sector since its launch in 2022.
Image: Singapore's Marina Bay Sands and ArtScience Museum.
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