HOTELS & TOURISM | Staff Reporter, Singapore

Singapore's 2015 tourism receipts dip 6.8% to $22b as business travel falters

Companies overseas have been slashing trip budgets.

Even with an uptick in Singapore visitor arrivals in 2015, data from the Singapore Tourism Board (STB) shows that tourism receipts have dropped.

Last year, visitor arrivals inched up 0.9% to $15.2m, but tourism receipts slipped 6.8% to $22b. STB reports that this pullback is due largely to a decline in business travel and meetings, incentives, conventions and exhibition (BTMICE) visitor arrivals and spending.

"As the average BTMICE visitor spends about two times more than the average leisure visitor, the fall in BTMICE visitor arrivals and spending due to companies cutting back on both travel and trip budgets has had a significant impact on our tourism receipts," commented STB’s CEO Lionel Yeo.

Moreover, Singapore tourism met with various headwinds like the bleary global economic outlook as well as weak currencies in some of the city-state’s top source markets.

On the flip side, leisure visitor arrivals inched up 2%, somewhat offsetting the drop in the BTMICE segment.

For 2015, the top growth-markets for tourism receipts were Japan and the UK, which registered an uptick of 6% and 4% respectively. Tourism receipts from Japan climbed thanks to increased BTMICE traffic, while more UK leisure visitors who spent more helped boost tourism receipts.

Meanwhile, the pullback in tourism receipts was most keenly felt in Malaysia, Indonesia, and Australia markets which saw a plunge of 26%, 21%, and 10% respectively. STB notes that in 2015 these markets grappled with economic challenges, and saw their currencies depreciate against SGD. Consequently, Singapore saw reduced visitor arrivals and spending from these markets. 

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