The number of Indian visitors to Singapore in 2023 so far has seen a surge when compared to last year. Tracking the post-pandemic surge in tourist arrivals to the Lion City, the Singapore Tourism Board (STB) announced that visitor numbers topped expectations, with over 2.9 million arrivals in the first three months of this year.
This is 62 per cent of 2019's first quarter figure of the 4.7 million people who visited Singapore in the first quarter of 2019, the STB stated.
Singapore has seen 193,230 tourists from India so far this year, which is about 3.5 times more than the 54,530 who arrived in the same time period in 2022. Indian residents are the fourth largest source of tourist arrivals in the first quarter after Indonesians (523,300), Malaysian (278,910) and Australians (265,730). Americans made up the fifth largest group of visitors by country of origin at 168,960.
Visitors from China, who have traditionally been the largest source of tourists for Singapore with over 3.75 million visitors in 2019, made up the ninth largest group of tourists in Q1 with only 124,560 coming to Singapore so far.
To inspire travel to Singapore, the STB together with the Infocomm Media Development Authority (IMDA) announced the launch of an SGD 10 million (USD 7.5 million) Singapore On-screen Fund and has partnered with various portals to launch tourist campaigns and web series such as 'On my own in Singapore'.
The fund will support selected projects by key M&E companies, which must be set in Singapore and launched before the first quarter of 2027. Successful projects will receive funding support of up to 30 per cent of qualifying costs related to featuring Singapore, including production and marketing costs.
The Free Singapore Tour, which was suspended during COVID, also resumed operations from April. This tour is organised by STB together with Changi Airport and is meant for transit passengers at Changi who have a layover period of at least five-and-a-half hours but less than 24 hours. They must also have valid entry visas for Singapore to be eligible for the tours.
The two-and-a-half hour-long tours include the City Sights Tour, Heritage Tour, Jewel Tour, and a new Changi Precinct Tour. Over 80,000 passengers participated in the Free Singapore Tour in 2019.
Another exciting development for tourism in Singapore is the announcement of a memorandum of understanding between the STB and Disney Cruise Line. Starting from 2025, a brand-new Disney Cruise Line ship with a passenger capacity of about 6,000 and a crew strength of 2,300 will be stationed in Singapore for five years.
The ship will take passengers on cruises around Southeast Asian countries, which are home to more than 40 UNESCO World Heritage Sites. The Disney Cruise Line ship is expected to attract millions of local and foreign cruise passengers, including fly-cruise passengers who arrive in Singapore by air, and bring significant spillover benefits for the wider economy.
"We look forward to welcoming the magic of Disney Cruise Line to Singapore in 2025," Keith Tan, chief executive of STB, said. "This is an important milestone for STB and reflects Disney Cruise Line's strong confidence in Singapore and Southeast Asia. The new Disney cruise ship will be an attraction itself and is expected to boost the tourism sector in Singapore for many years to come."