Singapore’s tourism receipts exceed target for 2023

Preliminary estimates for Singapore’s 2023 tourism performance have shown strong results in both international visitor arrivals and tourism receipts, in line with improving global travel and tourism outputs.

International visitor arrivals reached 13.6 million in 2023 (approximately 71 per cent of 2019’s figure), meeting Singapore Tourism Board’s (STB) forecast of between 12 and 14 million visitors.

Major events, such as the Singapore Grand Prix, as well as first-of-its-kind tourism concepts and new and innovative tours all contributed to Singapore’s strong tourism performance in 2023

Tourism receipts are estimated to reach S$24.5 billion (US$18.3 billion) to $26.0 billion, surpassing STB’s forecast of S$18 billion to S$21 billion set out in 2023. This preliminary figure is approximately 88 to 94 per cent of 2019’s tourism receipts.

STB will release final data in 2Q2024.

Melissa Ow, STB chief executive, said: “The robust performance in 2023 signals a promising recovery for tourism, in line with increasing flight capacity and growth in international travel demand. Our strategy to attract a healthy and diverse visitor portfolio, comprising long and shorthaul markets, has significantly contributed to our overall visitor arrivals, longer length of stay and growth in tourism receipts.

“Singapore’s thriving pipeline of business and leisure offerings demonstrates our continued appeal as an attractive and trusted tourism destination, and reflects the unwavering confidence our partners have in Singapore.”

Visitor arrivals were driven by strong demand from a mix of Singapore’s key markets, led by Indonesia (2.3 million), China (1.4 million), and Malaysia (1.1 million). Other key markets that posted buoyant recovery included Australia, South Korea and the US.

From January to September 2023, tourism receipts across all spend categories have either exceeded or recovered close to pre-pandemic levels, compared with the same period in 2019. For the first nine months of 2023, the top spending markets were China, Indonesia and Australia, which contributed S$2.3 billion, S$2.2 billion, and S$1.5 billion respectively in tourism receipts (excluding sightseeing, entertainment and gaming).

Visitors also spent more time in Singapore compared to before the pandemic. The average length of stay in 2023 was approximately 3.8 days, up from 3.4 days for the same period in 2019.

In terms of hotel industry performance, ARR and RevPAR surpassed 2019 levels, reaching S$282 (approximately 128 per cent of 2019 ARR) and S$226 (approximately 118 per cent of 2019 RevPAR) respectively. AOR was 80.1 per cent in 2023, compared to 86.9 per cent in the same period in 2019.

Singapore’s room inventory expanded with 3,210 new hotel keys.

In terms of cruise performance, Singapore’s position as a regional cruise hub strengthened in 2023 with a record two million passenger throughput from more than 340 ship calls, since the opening of the Marina Bay Cruise Centre Singapore.

Looking ahead, STB expects the tourism sector’s recovery to continue in 2024, driven by improved global flight connectivity and capacity as well as the implementation of the mutual 30-day visa-free travel between China and Singapore. In 2024, international flight capacity is expected to continue to increase, with capacity at or approaching pre-pandemic levels for the majority of our key source markets.

International visitor arrivals in the new year are expected to reach around 15 to 16 million, bringing in approximately S$26 billion to S$27.5 billion in tourism receipts. Geopolitical uncertainty, the state of the global economy, and other factors such as the continued restoration of flight connectivity will have bearing on the pace of travel recovery.

Ow said: “To sustain our growth in 2024 and beyond, STB will focus on achieving quality tourism, cultivating strategic partnerships, investing in new and refreshed products and experiences, and supporting stakeholders in building capabilities.”

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