Hospitality stocks 'worth a fresh look'

Hospitality stocks 'worth a fresh look'

SINGAPORE - Investors might well check out some hospitality shares, given the prospects that bullish analysts see for the industry.

A slowdown in tourism growth means a muted year ahead for hotel stocks, but opportunities for expansion look robust, they say.

Fewer visitors are expected. On Monday, the Singapore Tourism Board said, over the next decade, arrival growth will slow to 3 to 4 per cent year on year, while tourist spending will rise 4 to 6 per cent.

The numbers signal a marked slowdown from the record growth posted between 2002 and last year: Visitor arrivals grew at a compounded annual rate of 6.6 per cent while tourism receipts shot up by 10 per cent.

Still, market watchers do not see much gloom ahead.

DBS Vickers analyst Derek Tan said the opening of new lifestyle hot spots such as Sentosa's West Zone, the River Safari, the National Art Gallery and the Sports Hub will "position Singapore as an attractive tourist destination".

"We believe these attractions - together with the strong pipeline of meetings, incentives, conferences and exhibitions (Mice) events brought in by the two integrated resorts - will help Singapore achieve its target of 17 million visitor arrivals by 2015."

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