Tourism receipts also inched up 1% to $27.1b.
The tourism sector was able to power through economic uncertainties as visitor arrivals (VA) increased 6.2% YoY to 18.5 million in 2018, the Singapore Tourism Board (STB) revealed.
The agency noted that the record high increase was fueled by the VA growth in seven key markets, including China, India, Philippines, UK, USA, Vietnam, and Germany. They added that China (6%), Indonesia (2%), and India (13%) registered record-high visitor arrivals.
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Moreover, STB noted that China and India saw growth from both tier one and tier two cities backed by strong travel demand and increased flight connectivity.
“In particular, cruise arrivals from India spiked 27% as more Indian travellers took up new cruise offerings such as Genting Dream and Royal Caribbean Cruises' Voyager of the Sea,” STB explained.
The growth in visitor and the higher visitor spending also buoyed tourism receipts (TR) to rise 1% to $27.1b, STB revealed. In particular, growth was registered across all of Singapore’s top five TR source markets from January to September 2018.
For the whole of 2018, STB noted that India (18%), Indonesia (8%) and China (3%) posted the highest year-on-year absolute growth in TR excluding Sightseeing, Entertainment & Gaming (TR ex-SEG).
“India led in TR ex-SEG growth due to a higher spending on accommodation,” STB commented. “For Indonesia, the growth could be attributed to greater spend on Other TR components. TR ex-SEG growth from China was driven by a double-digit growth in leisure visitors.”
“We were fortunate to have benefited from a confluence of positive factors such as strong Asia-Pacific travel demand, increased flight connectivity to Singapore, and various high-profile events,” STB chief executive Keith Tan said.
Despite forecasts of volatility in the global political and economic environment paired with stiffer competition in the region, STB remains cautiously optimistic that tourism receipts could rise by 1-3% to $27.3-27.9b whilst international VAs is expected to grow by 1-4% to hit about 18.7-19.2 million.
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