Singapore tourist arrivals to exceed forecasts in 2016

Tourist arrivals in 2016 are likely to exceed forecasts from the Singapore Tourism Board, said Credit Suisse in a report from Bloomberg.

According to the brokerage, the number of tourists in the country this year is to go up 8 percent to 16.5 million visitors compared to 2015.

The increase can be attributed to the opening of Singapore’s two casinos in 2010. Official figures show that income from tourism has grown 25 percent in the four years since their opening, and Chinese visitors have doubled in numbers, says Bloomberg.

However, the Chinese market isn’t the only reason for the tourism boom, the city-state is also a popular destination for the business-traveler market, with a strong MICE industry.

According to the tourism board, these visitors are spending double that of leisure tourists.

The gaming and entertainment market however remains to be the biggest contributor to Singapore’s tourism income, which accounted for 24 percent of all tourism spending in the first nine months of 2015.

According to Credit Suisse, although 2015 was a tough year for the gaming market in Singapore, stronger currencies in Malaysia and Indonesia may help to reverse visitor declines in those countries as well as a stronger push to attract Chinese tourists.

“2016 could be a record year of arrivals,” said Gerald Wong, a Credit Suisse analyst quoted by Bloomberg. “We expect Singapore to continue to benefit from continued growth in Chinese outbound travel.”