EVEN though total arrivals in Singapore increased 0.9% to 15.2 million in 2015, tourist receipts declined 6.8% to S$22 billion (US$15.6 billion), resulting in a “mixed tourism sector performance” last year, according to a statement by the Singapore Tourism Board (STB).
The decline in tourism receipts was largely due to a six% fall in BTMICE visitor arrivals, with a corresponding eight% drop in per capita expenditure.
According to STB’s chief executive Lionel Yeo, while 25% of the total number of visitors to Singapore belong to the BTMICE pie, their expenditure can be double that of a leisure traveller.
Yeo said: “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.”
Nevertheless, Yeo said: “But we take heart that we are still attractive as a leisure destination as we saw an increase in leisure visitor arrivals.”
Indonesia once again emerged as Singapore’s largest source market with 2.7 million visitors, despite registering a year-on-year drop of 10%.
Visitors from Malaysia, Japan and Australia also declined by five%, four%, and three% respectively, due to macroeconomic factors such as currency depreciation and an uncertain economic outlook.
On a positive note, China, which is Singapore’s second largest source market, brought in 2.1 million visitors – a 22% jump from 2014.
Looking ahead, Yeo said: “For 2016, we will be cognizant of the uncertainty and volatility that lies ahead.”
STB expects tourism receipts to grow between 0 and 2% in 2016, to reach between S$22 to S$24 billion. It also anticipates visitor arrivals to be in the range of 15.2 to 15.7 million, a growth of 0-3%.