Higher-spending visitors help boost Singapore's tourism numbers in first 6 months of 2016

International visitor arrivals grew 13 per cent to hit 8.2 million in the first half of 2016, with visitor spending up 12 per cent to $11.6 billion. PHOTO: ST FILE

SINGAPORE - Singapore is increasingly attracting higher-spending visitors who helped boost tourism receipts in the first half of 2016, said the Singapore Tourism Board (STB) on Tuesday (Nov 8).

From January to June, international visitor arrivals grew 13 per cent, compared to the same period in 2015, to hit 8.2 million, figures released by STB showed.

Visitors spent $11.6 billion, an increase of 12 per cent.

While the growth in spending was mainly due to the increase in visitor numbers, STB noted that visitors had also forked out more on shopping, accommodation and food and beverage. This helped to offset a fall in sightseeing, entertainment and gaming "that was due largely to the decline in gaming revenue as reported by the integrated resorts", STB added .

For example, in the second quarter of 2016, visitors spent 65 per cent more on shopping, 41 per cent more on food and beverage and 30 per cent more on accommodation compared to the same period in 2015.

The agency also noted that Singapore is increasingly "seeing more visitors with higher propensity to spend" from major cities in markets such as India, Australia and Indonesia. They spent more on fashion accessories, wellness products, souvenirs, gifts and confectionery.

In addition, more visitors are choosing to stay in paid accommodation, particularly in mid-tier hotels. "In contrast, we are seeing less long-stayers who are typically hosted by their friends and relatives," said STB.

Hotel room revenue for gazetted hotels, which are mainly in prime or tourist areas and charge only nightly rates, was estimated at $1.6 billion for the first half of 2016, a year-on-year growth of 3.2 per cent.

While average occupancy rate for hotels has gone up, the revenue for each available room dropped by 2.4 per cent year-on-year due to a fall in average room rate.

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