Tourism receipts for the first three months of 2014 grew 5 per cent on-year to S$6 billion, according to the latest Tourism Sector Performance report by the Singapore Tourism Board (STB).Growth in tourism receipts was driven by Sightseeing, Entertainment and Gaming (SEG), which recorded a 19 per cent year-on-year growth to rake in S$1.6 billion in revenue, the STB said in the report released on Monday (July 21). Both integrated resorts reported an increase in their overall gaming revenues.
SEG was followed by Other TR Components – which include expenditure on airfares, port taxes, local transportation, medical, business, education and transit visitors – that generated S$1.4 billion in revenue, it added.
Declines in spending on Shopping, which saw a 6 per cent drop, and Food and Beverage, which dipped 1 per cent, were seen in the quarter though, STB said.
A senior lecturer at Ngee Ann Polytechnic's Tourism and Resort Management programme said, "Singapore is also facing a lot of competition from regional countries for shopping so people have choices now."
Dr Chiam offered suggestions to boost these areas. "One is more targetted in terms of tourists who would like to try our local cuisine," he said. "On the area of shopping we could re-invent ourselves by having different brands come to Singapore, new brands that locals or people in this region are not exposed to. We also have to be a little bit more competitive in terms of pricing as compared to our regional countries."
LAW IMPACTS CHINA TOURISTS NUMBERS
In terms of international visitor arrivals for the first quarter, the agency said the figure held steady at 3.9 million. Visitor arrivals in the three months were mainly impacted by the 14 per cent decline in arrivals from China “due to the continuing impact of the tourism law that was introduced on Oct 1, 2013”, it said.
The law stipulates, among other things, that tours sold in China for domestic and overseas travel clearly list itineraries, duration and details of transport, hotels and meals.
Excluding visitors from China, visitor arrivals grew 2.8 per cent on-year, with South Korea (17 per cent) and Vietnam (13 per cent) showing strong growth, according to the report. Indonesia continued to top the visitor arrivals list at 749,000 in the first three month.
The growth for South Korea was boosted by an appreciation of the South Korean won and also the introduction of Scoot, the only low cost carrier plying the Singapore-Seoul route. Meanwhile, the growth of Vietnam could be because travel as a lifestyle activity is gaining popularity among the Vietnamese."
Despite the drop in visitor numbers, China was still the top tourism receipt-generating markets in the first quarter with S$800 million spent by Chinese tourists. The figure excludes expenditure on the Sightseeing, Entertainment and Gaming component due to “commercial sensitivity” of the information, STB said.
Indonesia and India made up the top three, with the former contributing S$658 million and the latter S$284 million, according to the report. Indonesia’s tourism receipts fell 12 per cent on-year because it was impacted by a drop in per capita spend, while India’s 3 per cent dip on-year was primarily driven down by a fall in arrivals and per capita spend of leisure visitors.
STB also said gazetted hotel room revenue showed a strong 12 per cent growth to hit S$800 million in the first quarter. This was aided by a rise in Average Room Rate, which stood at S$261 in the first three months, a 2.7 per cent hike year-on-year.
However, Average Occupancy Rate stood at 86 per cent, a 0.4-percentage-point decline over the same period last year, the report stated.
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