Singapore tourists stay longer, spend more

    Singapore has reported a decline in tourists in the first half of this year, but found that those who did visit the island state on average stayed longer and spent more.
    According to a Singapore Tourism Board (STB) report the overall decline was mainly due to lower Chinese day trippers, who were down by more than half from the same period a year ago.
    International visitor arrivals to Singapore hit 7.5 million, with 1.2 million of them coming in the month of June, down 2.8 per cent year-on-year.
    The number of Chinese visitors fell 30 percent year-on-year, following the implementation of the new China Tourism Law in October 2013, coupled with the disappearance of flight MH370, abduction of Chinese tourists in Sabah and political unrest in Thailand.
    However, the number of Chinese visitors that stayed for at least two days jumped by 21 percent year-on-year to hit 406,000 visitors in the first half of 2014.
    This resulted in the average length of stay by Chinese visitors increasing by 56 percent year-on-year, from an average of 2.7 days in the first half of last year to 4.2 days this year. Excluding China, visitor arrivals from the other markets grew 2.3 percent over the same six-month period.
    Spending rose 5 percent to $6 billion in the first three months of the year, up 5 per cent from the same period last year with sightseeing, entertainment and gaming jumping 19 percent to $1.6 billion. Spending by Japanese visitors rose 11 percent in the first quarter of the year, despite a 2 per cent fall in visits. Similar trends were observed for Australian, Malaysian and United Kingdom tourists.
    “We are heartened to see an increase in Chinese visitors who visit Singapore as a single destination and stay for at least two days. This shows that we have been reaching out to the right target audience,” said Yap Chin Siang, STB’s assistant chief executive for policy and planning.