Singapore less popular with tourists last year

SINGAPORE - Even as international tourism grows in South-east Asia, Singapore has dropped in popularity as a destination.

According to preliminary data from the United Nations' (UN's) World Tourism Organisation, the country fell from No. 22 in 2011 to No. 25 last year in terms of international tourist arrivals by country of destination.

Meanwhile, other South-east Asian countries like Thailand and China held their respective spots, at No. 15 and No. 3 respectively. Hong Kong rose one spot to No. 12, while Malaysia fell one spot to No. 10 last year.

An advance copy of the World Tourism Barometer was released yesterday.

While visitor arrivals here have slowed, travel agents told My Paper more people here have been travelling out of Singapore in the first half of the year.

Ms Alicia Seah, CTC Travel's senior vice-president of marketing and public relations, said: "With more flights to various countries fuelled by full-service and low-cost carriers, and a strong Singapore dollar, demand increased by almost 30 per cent."

Popular regional destinations included Thailand, China, Taiwan and Hong Kong.

Ms Michelle Yin, marketing communications manager at Chan Brothers Travel, said that the firm had a 5 per cent increase in travellers out of Singapore in the first six months of the year, and they are spending an average of 15 per cent more.

"(Surveys have shown) that consumer-confidence levels in Singapore improved slightly in the first half of the year over the previous year...The local economy is also holding steady amid global uncertainties," she said.

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