Tourism falters in Q4 last year

For the whole of last year, Singapore's tourism receipts grew and more visitors came, but the performance in Q4 was lacklustre.

Receipts from foreign visitors' consumption expenditures or payments for goods and services in the last three months of 2013 amounted to $5.7 billion, 5 per cent less than for the last quarter of 2012.

The latest performance report by the Singapore Tourism Board (STB) indicates that visitors shopped less, and did less sightseeing in Q4; receipts from these two components fell by the most - 9 per cent.

Receipts from entertainment and gaming fell 9 per cent; during the period, revenues of the Marina Bay Sands and Resorts World Sentosa integrated resorts fell by double digits.

Only receipts from accommodation rose (by 7 per cent) in the quarter from a year ago.

The STB registered gazetted hotel room revenue for Q4 2013 to be $0.7 billion, a 4.7 per cent year-on-year increase.

During the quarter, there was a 31 per cent decline in visitors from China as a result of Beijing's new tourism law kicking in last October.

A slew of measures aimed at addressing the issues in China's domestic industry, such as tourist safety, unfair competition and forced shopping trips, led to tour operators there raising their prices, which dampened outbound travel from China, the state-run Xinhua news agency reported.

Despite the fall in number of China visitors to Singapore, those who did come spent one per cent more than a year ago.

The full-year figures are more positive: tourism receipts totalled $23.5 billion, a 2 per cent year-on-year increase; the number of international visitors grew to 15.6 million, 7 per cent more than the year before.

Indonesia, China, Malaysia, Australia and India were Singapore's top five international visitor-generating markets during the year, accounting for 56 per cent of total international visitor arrivals.

Full-year gazetted hotel room revenue was at $2.9 billion, a 3.9 per cent growth over the sum in the corresponding period in 2012.

This article was published on May 10 in The Business Times.

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