Visitors arrivals and spending fall in first half of 2015 but there are signs of a recovery: STB

Visitors at the tourist attraction Merlion statue.
Visitors at the tourist attraction Merlion statue.PHOTO: AFP

SINGAPORE - The tourism industry here took a hit in the first half of the year, with both visitor arrivals and tourism receipts falling, latest figures from the Singapore Tourism Board (STB) showed.

The fall was due mainly to fewer business travellers. Those who came also spent less.

From January to June this year, Singapore welcomed 7.3 million visitors, a 3 per cent decline compared to the same period in 2014. They spent $10.5 billion, down 12 per cent.

The top visitor market was Indonesia, followed by China, Malaysia, India and Australia. They accounted for more than half of the total visitors in the first six months of the year.

But there are signs that the industry is on the road to recovery. Visitor arrivals have been on the rise since May, driven by a double-digit increase in visitor arrivals from top source markets such as China and India.

The number of leisure visitors and their spending also increased slightly - by 1 per cent - in the first half of the year, a positive indicator that Singapore remains an attractive holiday destination, said STB.

To draw more visitors, the board is working with the Changi Airport Group, Singapore Airlines and Tripadvisor. It also forged partnerships with six major Chinese digital players to attract more independent visitors from China.

STB noted that new attractions, such as private museum Singapore Pinacothèque de Paris, art museum National Gallery Singapore and theme park Kidzania, and events such as the Women's Tennis Association Finals 2015 will also help maintain Singapore's destination appeal and promote growth.