Iswaran: Tourism growth to slow by half over the next decade

The number of tourists arriving in Singapore is estimated to grow by only 3 to 4 per cent each year for the next decade, about half the rate it did for the past ten years.

Tourism receipts are also expected to grow at only 4 to 6 per cent over the same period.

From 2002 to 2012, visitor arrivals grew at a compounded annual growth rate of 6.6 per cent. Tourism receipts grew at a corresponding 10 per cent in the same period.

Describing the past growth in visitor arrivals as "not sustainable", Mr S Iswaran, Second Minister for Home Affairs and Trade and Industry, said: "The growth model that is based solely on sheer quantitative growth is no longer viable".

He pointed to two reasons: The impact of keen regional competition for the same tourism pie and internal labour constraints.

"There is a general consensus that we need to reposition ourselves for more sustainable quality growth, of which the focus is on deriving yield from each visitor in Singapore," he said, addressing over 600 industry players at the Tourism Industry Conference 2013 on Monday.

STB's chief executive Lionel Yeo, who also spoke at the event, outlined various solutions: targeting the high-yield traveller through marketing and creating more interesting events for tourists.