Singapore's tourism sector generated an estimated S$12.4 billion in tourism receipts (TR) in 2006, exceeding the target of S$12 billion and posting a double digit growth of 14.5% over 2005. This is a new record for TR for the tourism sector. Singapore also set a new high of 9.7 million visitor arrivals (VA) last year, exceeding its target of 9.4 million VA and posting an increase of 9% over 2005. Total visitor days grew 9.0% to reach 32.9 million days in 2006.
Indonesia (1,921,000 visitors), P. R. China (1,037,000 visitors), Australia (692,000 visitors), India (659,000 visitors) and Malaysia (634,000 visitors) emerged as the top five markets in 2006, accounting for about 51% of total visitor arrivals. Asia (7.1 million visitors) continues to be an important source market for Singapore, contributing to 72.9% of the total visitor arrivals, an increase of 9.2% over 2005.
2006’s robust performance was also driven by strong double-digit growths from markets such as South Korea (24.8%), China (20.9%), the Philippines (20.6%), India (12.9%) and Australia (11.5%).
All top ten markets for Singapore posted growth, with eight of them achieving record highs for their respective markets.
The hospitality industry also performed well. Based on the latest figures, the average occupancy rate (AOR) for the hotel sector reached 85% from January to December 2006, registering a growth of 1.4 percentage point over the same period in 2005. The Average Room Rate (ARR) for 2006 was estimated to reach S$164, an increase of 19.6% over 2005. Hotel room revenue posted a double-digit growth of 21.2% to reach S$1.5 billion during this period. These are record annual highs for Singapore’s hotel sector . Revenue per available room (Revpar) also increased by 21.6% compared to 2005 to reach S$139.6. In September, the hospitality industry also achieved its highest average room rate of S$192, while average occupancy rate hit an all time high of 92% in November.
“This has been a record breaking year for tourism. The fact that we achieved records in visitor arrivals, tourism receipts, average occupancy rate and hotel room revenue, as well as record highs for most of our key markets means the growth achieved for 2006 was broad-based across sectors and markets. This strong performance can be attributed to successful marketing and promotional efforts as well as the better connectivity and increasing affordability of air travel. At the same time, over the recent years, the tourism industry here has invested in a lot of effort to bring in or develop new tourism products, or re-fresh current ones to ensure that Singapore remains relevant and attractive as a destination,” said Mr Lim Neo Chian, Deputy Chairman and Chief Executive of the STB.
In 2006 Singapore launched two marketing and advertising campaigns: Singapore, Where Great Things Happen, aimed at the Business Travel and Meetings, Incentive Travel, Conventions and Exhibitions (BTMICE) audience; and an over-arching Uniquely Singapore brand campaign Beyond Words. It also had a strong line-up of leisure and meeting, incentive travel, exhibitions and conventions (MICE) events. These include the Great Singapore Sale, Christmas in the Tropics, ZoukOut, the Singapore 2006 suite of meetings including the International Monetary Fund and World Bank Group Boards of Governors Annual Meetings and the annual CommunicAsia. These events drew visitors from within and outside of the region. Last year also saw new tourism products such as Ministry of Sound, The Cannery, St James Power Station and VivoCity come on stream.
“Going forward, the STB will continue to focus its marketing and promotional efforts on key markets, particularly emerging ones such as China, India, the Middle East and Russia which are showing strong outbound potential. We will also continue to build on Singapore’s reputation and appeal as a choice destination for BTMICE and quality healthcare and education services and strive to develop even more exciting tourism products that will enhance Singapore’s position as a destination,” added Mr. Lim.
With the two Integrated Resorts, Marina Bay Sands and Resorts World at Sentosa, coming up in 2009 and 2010, Singapore can look forward to even more regional and world interest in the coming years. In addition, the Singapore Flyer, Singapore’s iconic 165-metre observation wheel, is due to take tourism to greater heights at the start of 2008.