Singapore posts steep declines in visitor arrivals, tourism receipts in Q1

The decline in tourism receipts was observed across all components. ST PHOTO: ALPHONSUS CHERN

SINGAPORE - Singapore's tourism sector reported steep declines in international visitor arrivals and tourism receipts for the first quarter of this year amid the Covid-19 pandemic.

Compared with the same period last year, international visitors and tourism receipts fell by 43.2 and 39 per cent respectively, according to a report released by the Singapore Tourism Board (STB) on Friday (July 17).

This amounted to 2.7 million visitors in the first three months of the year, and $4 billion in tourism receipts.

January alone accounted for 1.69 million international visitors, an increase from 1.62 million visitors last January.

But arrivals plummeted to 733,000 and 240,000 in February and March respectively.

Singapore closed its borders to all short-term visitors from anywhere in the world on March 23 in response to the escalating global spread of the coronavirus.

It had earlier barred visitors from selected countries that were hard hit by the virus at the time.

Tourists from Indonesia, China, Australia, India and Malaysia accounted for 49 per cent of all arrivals from January to March.

Of these countries, tourists from China saw the sharpest decline from last year at 65 per cent.

Meanwhile, the decline in tourism receipts was observed across all components, including in accommodation, shopping and food and beverage (F&B) spending, the STB said.

Shopping saw the biggest decline, falling 52 per cent from the same period last year to $656 million.

International visitors and tourism receipts for the Singapore tourism sector in Q1 2020 fell by 43.2 and 39 per cent respectively. PHOTO: SINGAPORE TOURISM BOARD

F&B spending fell by 36 per cent to $376 million, while spending on accommodation fell 31 per cent to $862 million.

Excluding expenditure on sightseeing, entertainment and gaming, Singapore's top three tourist markets in the first quarter were China, Indonesia and India.

The STB said the sightseeing, entertainment and gaming component was excluded from the analysis due to the commercial sensitivity of the information.

Tourism receipts are expected to fall even further for the second quarter of this year, going by more recent arrival numbers from the STB.

Singapore had just 750 visitors in April, while May was not much better with 880 visitors.

The Covid-19 pandemic has hit the tourism and aviation industries particularly hard both locally and globally.

The Singapore Airlines Group recorded a 99.3 per cent year-on-year decline in passenger carriage in June, and is currently operating at about 6 per cent of its scheduled capacity.

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