Record breaking 16.4 million tourists visit Singapore in 2016

2016 was a great year for Singapore tourism as previous records; of visitor arrivals and spends by tourists were smashed. A whopping 16.4 million tourists, 7.7 per cent higher than previous year arrived in the country last year and spent SGD 24.8 billion, an increase of 13.9 per cent, as per the figures released by Singapore Tourism Board (STB).

A record number of 16.4 million tourists arrived in Singapore last year.
A record number of 16.4 million tourists arrived in Singapore last year. Photo: Connected to India

For the second consecutive year, China (+41%) ranked top in tourism receipts, followed by India (+37%) and Indonesia (+14%). 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. 

For 2016, the top growth markets visitor arrivals in terms of absolute growth were China (+36%), Indonesia (+6%), and India (+8%). The growth was due to more visitor arrivals from Tier 1 and Tier 2 cities in China, India and Indonesia, where STB had intensified its marketing efforts. India also overtook Australia to become Singapore's 4th largest source market for visitor arrivals. Largest decline in visitor arrivals were posted by Hong Kong (-12%), Malaysia (-2%), Australia (-2%), South Korea (-2%) and Japan (-1%).

Lionel Yeo, Chief Executive of Singapore Tourism Board, said, "We are heartened by the strong tourism sector performance in 2016. Despite challenges such as weaker economic performance in some of Singapore's top source markets and a Zika virus outbreak, Singapore has managed to attract more quality visitors to contribute to economic growth." 

Vinod Nair, India's leading fashion journalist, Founder and Director of Vinod Nair Associates, said,

Vinod Nair with American designer Diane Von Furstenberg Photo courtesy:
Vinod Nair with American designer Diane Von Furstenberg Photo courtesy:

"Singapore is a popular destination for high fashion brands. I love that about the city state besides the shopping, tourist attractions and the buzz, which is unique to Singapore. My last trip to the country was for the INYT Luxury Conference held in the Sentosa island. I hope to return a few times in 2017."   

Addition of new attractions and renovations of popular spots played its part in increasing spends by tourists. KidZania Singapore, permanent digital art gallery Future World at Art Science Museum at Marina Bay Sands, COMO Dempsey, retail concept store with four fine culinary institutions and an “up-market” food emporium being the new entrants. New look Chinatown Heritage Centre and the relocated Zouk at Clarke Quay continued to be popular hotspots.

Singapore’s calendar of events remained vibrant with new events such as Ultra Singapore and the inaugural HSBC World Rugby Sevens Series, together with its strong after-party element, “Music After 7” at Clarke Quay.

Graph - Popular countries for toursim traffic to Singapore by Connected to India Source: Singapore Tourism Board (STB)

On the business tourism front, STB supported more than 410 business events held in 2016, a 15 per cent year-on-year growth. These events garnered around 343,000 visitor arrivals, and generated approximately SGD 611 million in tourism receipts, a 20 per cent and 28 per cent increase year-on-year respectively.

For this year, Singapore Tourism Board predicts that tourism receipts will grow by 1 to 4 per cent to SGD 25.1 billion to SGD 25.8 billion while visitors arrivals are expected to in the range of 16.4 million to 16.7 million, a growth of 0 to 2 per cent.