Indian arrivals to Singapore approach pre-pandemic levels

Singapore has witnessed a significant surge in inbound tourist arrivals from India, which is expected to be the city-state’s fourth largest tourism source market for 2023.

Latest statistics, as of November 2023, showed that 977,500 Indian tourists have visited Singapore last year. Numbers are expected to surpass one million at the year’s end, close to pre-pandemic arrivals of 1.41 million.

From left: Markus Tan and GB Srithar

“We started off with a bit of a challenging time in 2023 when Singapore was among six countries requiring pre-arrival visitor testing. However, after that tourist arrivals from India have been increasing month-on-month,” said GB Srithar, the erstwhile regional director for India, Middle East, South Asia, and Africa (IMESA) at the Singapore Tourism Board (STB), while addressing reporters in New Delhi. Srithar has since passed on the baton to Markus Tan.

As per Srithar, a number of strategic initiatives targeted at the Indian market played a pivotal role in growing interest in Singapore as a preferred destination in 2023. Last year, STB partnered with Indian platform, MX Player, to unveil an interactive film titled, Lost and Found in Singapore. The initiative is said to be the first-of-its-kind by an NTO in India, and is aimed at capturing elements that define Singapore’s character, creating an immersive exploration.

Moreover, to amplify Singapore’s shopping appeal among Indian tourists, STB partnered with Nykaaland, pegged as India’s first beauty and lifestyle festival, where Singaporean labels like Sage & Ylang and Fawn Labs were prominently featured. Currently, shopping accounts for 26 per cent of the expenditure by Indian tourists in Singapore.

“Our focus segments in the new year in India are going to be families, young travellers under the age of 35, cruise, MICE and weddings. We are trying to work with Indian payment gateways like Unified Payments Interface to make it seamless for Indian travellers to spend in Singapore,” said Srithar.

Tan, the newly appointed official successor to Srithar, expressed plans for long-term engagement with travel trade partners.

“In the past our travel trade promotional campaigns have lasted for durations ranging from three to four months. We will now look at much bigger scale pan-India campaigns. In 2024 we will engage with airline partners to see how we can improve connectivity and provide better fares to Indian travellers,” he added.

Singapore welcomed 686,400 visitors from India in 2022.

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