Singapore sees record arrivals from top source markets as tier-two cities lead surge

The Helix Bridge in Singapore

Visitor arrivals (VA) in Singapore for 2018 grew 6.2 per cent to reach an all-time high of 18.5 million, with the destination seeing record performance from its top source markets, announced the Singapore Tourism Board (STB) yesterday.

China, Indonesia and India were the top three source markets. Notably, seven of the top 15 VA markets – China, India, the Philippines, the UK, the US, Vietnam and Germany – hit new highs due to increased air connectivity, Passion Made Possible brand activations and robust travel demand.

Singapore saw arrivals from markets such as China, India, Vietnam, the US hit new highs

This travel demand was largely spurred by the rise of the middle-class traveller segment and tier-two cities, said Chang Chee Pey, assistant chief executive, STB.

VA from tier-two cities in China rose by six per cent from 2017 to reach one million, and in India by 12 per cent to reach 253,000. These were driven by new flight connections to Chinese cities like Nanchang, Jinan and Nanning, as well as India’s Guwahati, Pune and Vijaywada.

In India, STB will shift its focus from family travellers to millennials, particularly young working adults, said Chang.

Another important segment is the “active silvers”, or elderly travellers who are frequent flyers. STB will in 2019 conduct more research into attracting this segment of travellers, shared Lynette Pang, assistant chief executive, marketing group, STB.

To pull in visitors from proximity markets like Indonesia and India, STB will leverage the Singapore Bicentennial celebrations this year to organise “supersized events”, revealed Chang.

He added that STB aims to woo longhaul markets like the UK and Europe with a roster of Bicentennial-themed programmes and tour products, which will be announced at a later date.

STB also announced that tourism receipts broke its previous stagnation, with a one per cent increase to S$27.1 billion (US$20 billion). Higher tourist spending was registered for Sightseeing, Entertainment and Gaming, as well as Other TR Components comprising elements such as air fares captured by local-based carriers.

Looking ahead, STB forecasted a further increase in VA from 2018 to 2019 of one to four per cent, to reach up to 19.2 million, and a further rise in tourism receipts of up to three per cent.

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