SINGAPORE: A total of 15.2 million tourists visited the Republic in 2015, 0.9 per cent more than the previous year, according to the Singapore Tourism Board's (STB) preliminary estimates released on Monday (Feb 29).
However, spending among visitors fell by 6.8 per cent in 2015, as tourism receipts reached S$22 billion, the preliminary estimates showed.
According to STB, the decline in tourism receipts was due to a fall in the number of business visitors and meetings, incentives, conventions and exhibition (MICE) arrivals, which fell 6 per cent, and lower per capita expenditure.
STB added that the growth of leisure visitor arrivals had helped to offset the lower business-related visitor arrivals in 2015.
MORE CHINESE VISITORS, BUT LESS SPENDING
Visitors from Indonesia, which comprise Singapore's largest market, fell by 10 per cent last year. STB attributed the decline to a weaker currency and the uncertain economic outlook, as 2.7 million visitors from Indonesia visited Singapore in 2015.
Meanwhile, visitors from China, Singapore's second-largest market, increased 22 per cent. STB said increased flight connectivity to secondary Chinese cities helped to boost tourist numbers. However, the average Chinese tourist spent 5 per cent less in 2015 as compared to 2014.
A growth in visitor arrivals was also seen in Taiwan (12 per cent), India (7 per cent) and South Korea (7 per cent).
In terms of spending, the top growth markets for tourism receipts were Japan, which grew 6 per cent, and the United Kingdom, growing 4 per cent.
The decline in tourism receipts was most keenly felt in Indonesia, Australia and Malaysia. The STB said these markets had faced economic challenges and saw their currencies depreciate against the Sing dollar.
Looking ahead, STB said it expects tourism receipts to grow between 0 and 2 percent in 2016, to reach the range of S$22-24 billion. It also expects visitor arrivals to be in the range of 15.2 to 15.7 million, a growth of 0-3 per cent.