Singapore sees decrease in visitor arrivals

Singapore sees decrease in visitor arrivals

SINGAPORE, Aug. 26 (Xinhua) -- Singapore's international visitor arrivals in the first half of 2014 fell by 2.8 percent year on year, partly due to a decline in the number of Chinese visitors who stay for one day or less, the Singapore Tourism Board said on Tuesday.

Excluding Chinese visitors, Singapore's international tourist arrivals grew by 2.3 percent year on year in the same period of time.

Singapore Tourism Board said the number of Chinese visitors to Singapore in the first half of the year fell by 30 percent year on year, following the implementation of new tourism rules in China in October last year.

"In addition, regional events like the disappearance of Malaysia Airlines flight MH370, the abduction of Chinese tourists in Sabah and the political unrest in Thailand have all had a dampening effect on Chinese tourism," the board said.

The total number of international visitor arrivals in Singapore in the first half hit 7.5 million. Tourism receipts, however, grew at 5 percent year on year to hit six billion Singapore dollars (4. 8 billion U.S. dollars).

The gazetted hotel room revenue rose by 8.8 percent to 1.6 billion Singapore dollars (1.28 billion U.S. dollars). Revenue for per available room held steady at 218 Singapore dollars, as the 1. 2 percent decline in average occupancy rate was offset by a 1.2 percent increase in average room rate.

China is Singapore's second largest visitor market. For the first time, the 1.24 million Chinese who visited in the first half of last year overtook Indonesian visitors as the biggest spenders. Statistics show they spent almost 1.52 billion Singapore dollars ( 1.22 billion U.S. dollars), excluding spending on sightseeing and entertainment.

However, Singapore Tourism Board said the decline in Chinese visitor arrivals in the first half of this year was mostly from those who stayed in Singapore for a day or less. In contrast, the number of Chinese visitors that stayed for at least two days jumped by 21 percent year-on-year to hit 406,000 visitors in the first half of 2014. This resulted in the average length of stay by Chinese visitors increasing by 56 percent year-on-year an average of 4.2 days.

"We are heartened to see an increase in Chinese visitors who visit Singapore as a single destination and stay for at least two days. This shows that we have been reaching out to the right target audience and providing them with an experience that they value and enjoy," said Yap Chin Siang, assistant chief executive of the Policy and Planning Group at the Singapore Tourism Board.