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Tourism receipts, arrivals hit historic highs in 2016

Visitor arrivals and tourism spending in Singapore hit record highs in 2016 despite challenging economic conditions, according to figures released by the Singapore Tourism Board (STB) on Tuesday.

While visitor arrivals grew 7.7 percent to 16.4 million in 2016, tourism receipts rose even higher, increasing 13.9 percent to SG$24.8 billion (US$17.5 billion) in 2016.

“The strong tourism receipt results came on the back of visitors spending more on Food and Beverage, Shopping and Accommodation,” noted STB in a press release.

Shopping overtook gambling as the biggest earner in Singapore’s tourism industry, rising 44 percent year-on-year in the six months through June, noted Bloomberg in a report last December.

Looking at the first three quarters of 2016, China ranked highest in tourism receipts, growing 41 percent year-on-year, followed by India, which grew 37 percent year-on-year, and trailed by Indonesia, which grew 14 percent year-on-year.

“Tourism receipts from China increased mainly due to a volume-driven growth while Indonesia and India saw tourism receipts growing on the back of visitors spending more on shopping and accommodation,” said the STB.

The number of visitors from China grew 36 percent year-on-year in 2016 while Indonesia and India grew 6 and 8 percent respectively, said STB.

Intensified marketing efforts in the countries mentioned was cited as a key reason for the growth.

The tourism board estimates 2017 tourism receipts to hit between SG$25.1 and SG$25.8 billion, while international arrivals will stay relatively flat at 16.4 to 16.8 million in the year.

“Global economic and political uncertainties will probably continue to persist and there will be increasing regional competition for tourism dollars. However, Singapore can benefit from the projected tourism growth in the Asia-Pacific region,” it said.

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