Singapore’s international visitor arrivals (IVA) and tourism receipts (TR) for 2021 may be a mere fraction of pre-pandemic performance, but the Singapore Tourism Board (STB) said signs of recovery over the last three quarters of the year had been encouraging.
Sharing the city-state’s performance report at this morning’s Year-in-Review media conference, STB noted that Singapore welcomed 330,000 IVA and and made S$1.9 billion (US$1.4 billion) in TR.
IVA rose 221 per cent in the last three quarters of 2021 over a low base of 2020, while TR improved 92 per cent in the second and third quarter over the same period in 2020.
STB attributed the invigorated return of overseas travellers to Singapore’s Vaccinated Travel Lanes (VTLs), with healthy demand arising from Australia, the UK, Malaysia, Indonesia and India – markets that contributed the most number of VTL applications.
In 2021, the top three visitor source markets for Singapore were China (88,000), India (54,000) and Indonesia (33,000). Between January and September 2021, visitors from China, Indonesia and India contributed S$432 million, S$127 million and S$58 million in TR (excluding sightseeing, entertainment and gaming) respectively.
Despite pandemic challenges, STB acknowledged that Singapore’s tourism sector has been resilient, working with STB to pivot decisively to the local market, preserve jobs, and experiment with innovative ways to reopen safely to international visitors.
On the accommodation front, the country’s hotel industry registered an Average Occupancy Rate of 56.2 per cent. Average Room Rate increased by 2.7 per cent to S$158, while Revenue per Available Room held steady at S$89. The year also saw several new hotel openings that presented unique lifestyle concepts, such as The Clan, Duxton Reserve and Oasia Resort Sentosa.
Business events picked up pace too, with more than 200 gatherings hosted in Singapore last year. These events were attended by almost 50,000 local and international attendees.
The cruise industry put forth a healthy rebound on the back of cruise-to-nowhere sailings. Both Dream Cruises and Royal Caribbean International welcomed over 400,000 domestic passengers on close to 300 cruise sailings in 2021.
The local tours industry also reported good performance, with close to 320,000 local participants and strong month-on-month growth for most of the year.
STB’s chief executive Keith Tan said: “We must anticipate setbacks and challenges even as the tourism industry recovers slowly. But I am confident that the tourism industry has learnt from its experiences and is poised to recapture demand when it returns.”