Fewer tourists visiting Singapore in first half of the year

A tour guide (left) speaking to tourists from China while on a tour in Singapore. -- PHOTO: ST FILE
A tour guide (left) speaking to tourists from China while on a tour in Singapore. -- PHOTO: ST FILE

SINGAPORE - Fewer tourists visited Singapore in the first half of the year, but those who did are spending more, according to a Singapore Tourism Board (STB) report released on Tuesday.

The total number of visitors from January to June this year was 7.5 million, a 2.8 per cent fall from the same period last year. Excluding China, visitor arrivals grew 2.3 per cent over the six month period.

The dip in tourist arrivals was led mainly by a shortfall in Chinese visitors staying for one day or less, which fell by more than half from the same period last year.

Meanwhile, the number of Chinese visitors who stayed for two days or more jumped by a fifth. The average length of stay by Chinese visitors has also gone up to 4.2 days this year, from an average of 2.7 days last year.

Mr Yap Chin Siang, STB's assistant chief executive for policy and planning, said in the release: "We are heartened to see an increase in Chinese visitors who visit Singapore as a single destination and stay for at least two days. This shows that we have been reaching out to the right target audience."

Tourists spent a total of $6 billion in the first three months of the year, up 5 per cent from the same period last year, said STB. Sightseeing, entertainment and gaming rolled in the biggest receipts, which amounted to $1.6 billion, a 19 per cent increase compared with 2013.

Spending by Japanese visitors rose 11 per cent in the first quarter of the year, despite a 2 per cent fall in visits. Similar trends were observed for Australian, Malaysian and United Kingdom tourists.

Indonesian, Chinese and Malaysian tourists remain the top visitors to Singapore, with January being the most popular month for visits.