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Global downturn blamed for decline in arrivals

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Singapore Tourism:
Global downturn blamed for decline in arrivals

Singapore received fewer tourists compared to a year ago in August, the third straight month of decline, reflecting falling demand for travel as the global economy slows and the credit crisis unfolds, reported Reuters.

The Singapore Tourism Board, which warned on Tuesday the weak outlook might extend into 2009, said Singapore received 842,000 visitors in August, a 7.7 percent decline from a year ago.

"The decline in visitor arrivals in August, July and June reflects the current challenging global economic environment and outlook for the tourism sector, which may continue into 2009," the Board said in a statement.

It said Singapore may receive fewer than the target 10.8 million visitors this year.

Singapore is hosting the world's first night-time Grand Prix race this weekend, but economists said the race will only provide a fillip for the slowing tourism business.

The average rate for hotel rooms was estimated at S$232 ($164.3) in August, a rise of 14.9 percent from a year ago, the Board said.

The average hotel occupancy rate likely hit 81 percent in August, a 9.5 percentage point decrease over last year, it added.

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