More visitor arrivals to Singapore in Q1 2013, but tourism spending drops

More tourists visited Singapore in the first quarter of 2013 compared to the same period in 2012, but they spent less. -- ST FILE PHOTO:  CHEW SENG KIM
More tourists visited Singapore in the first quarter of 2013 compared to the same period in 2012, but they spent less. -- ST FILE PHOTO:  CHEW SENG KIM

More tourists visited Singapore in the first quarter of 2013 compared to the same period in 2012, but they spent less.

According to the Singapore Tourism Board's (STB) quarterly report released on Thursday, Singapore welcomed 3.9 million tourists between January and March this year. This was an increase of 9 per cent from the same period last year.

But overall tourism spending dropped by 6 per cent to $5.7billion. The report showed that visitors spent less on accommodation, shopping, and sightseeing and entertainment. They spent the same amount on food and beverage. The decline in spending was driven mainly by a 6 per cent drop in the number of business travellers. This group also dished out less money across all components. In particular, they spent 21 per cent less on accommodation, due primarily to a downgrading in hotel types.

But Singapore was not alone in experiencing a dip in the number of business travellers. This was also reported in several markets in the region such as China, Hong Kong and Japan. Industry feedback suggested that businesses were generally cutting down on their business trip budgets and number of trips they took to regional destinations, including Singapore.

Spending by leisure travellers, however, increased 8 per cent compared to the same period last year. This was driven by a healthy growth in the number of leisure visitor arrivals. They also spent more across all components, except for shopping.

The top five international visitor-generating markets were Indonesia, China, Malaysia, Australia and Japan.

STB also placed the gazetted hotel room revenue at an estimated $0.7billion. This represented a relatively flat 0.8 per cent increase compared to the same quarter a year ago.