Tourism spending down 39% to S$4 billion as visitor numbers to Singapore plunge in Q1: STB

Tourism spending down 39% to S$4 billion as visitor numbers to Singapore plunge in Q1: STB

Singapore Daily Life
People, wearing face masks, walk on a bridge along the Marina Bay area in Singapore, Jun 30, 2020. (AP Photo/Yong Teck Lim)

SINGAPORE: Tourism receipts in Singapore fell 39 percent year-on-year to S$4 billion in the first quarter of 2020, the Singapore Tourism Board (STB) said on Friday (Jul 17).

The decline came amid the COVID-19 pandemic, which has led countries around the world to impose tighter border controls and restrictions on business operations and social gatherings.

Singapore implemented a "circuit breaker" to stop the spread of COVID-19 from Apr 7 to Jun 1, and is now in Phase 2 of its reopening.

The decrease in tourism receipts was observed across all components – which include shopping, accommodation, food and beverage, and sightseeing, entertainment and gaming – STB said in a media release.

Receipts in shopping saw the largest percentage drop, falling 52 per cent to S$656 million.

China was the top spender, generating S$471 million in tourism receipts in Q1 2020 when expenditure on sightseeing, entertainment and gaming was excluded. It was followed by Indonesia with S$421 million and India with S$238 million. Visitors from these three countries contributed to more than a third of total Q1 tourism receipts (excluding sightseeing, entertainment and gaming).

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VISTOR NUMBERS PLUNGE

International visitor arrivals stood at 2.7 million in the first three months of 2020, said STB. This was a decrease of 43.2 per cent compared to the same period in 2019..

Updated figures from STB also showed that there was a 100 per cent year-on-year decline in visitor arrivals in April, when Singapore's circuit breaker came into force. There were 750 visitor arrivals that month.

This rose slightly to 880 visitor arrivals in May, a year-on-year decline of 99.9 per cent.

Indonesia was the top source of visitors in Q1 2020, with 443,000 arrivals. It was followed by China with 337,000 arrivals and Australia with 204,000 arrivals. India and Malaysia rounded out the top five.

READ: Singapore in technical recession after GDP shrinks 41.2% in Q2 from preceding quarter due to COVID-19

HOTELS HIT HARD

The decline in visitor arrivals hit the hotel industry, with gazetted hotel room revenue in Q1 2020 falling 30.9 per cent year-on-year to S$687.3 million.

Average occupancy rate was 58.6 percent in the first three months of the year, a 27.2 percentage point decline year-on-year.

Across all tiers of hotels, the average room rate was S$215, down 1.2 per cent, while the revenue per available room was S$126, down 32.5 per cent year-on-year.

Hotels were able to apply to reopen for staycation bookings from Jul 3, while visitor attractions like the casinos at Marina Bay Sands and Resorts World Sentosa, Universal Studios Singapore and Singapore Zoo have gradually reopened in Phase 2.

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Source: CNA/dv(ac)

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