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10 February 2010

Singapore reports 9.7m arrivals in 2009

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The number of visitors to Singapore last year hit 9.7 million, exceeding an earlier forecast of between 9 million and 9.5 million. But it is still a year-on-year decline of 4.3 percent, reported the Channel News Asia on its website.

The Singapore Tourism Board (STB) gave the figures at a news conference on Tuesday.

Singapore started to see more visitors arriving from the second half of last year when the economy was turning around. In fact, for December alone, visitor arrivals to Singapore grew 9.4 percent year-on-year to reach 971,000, the highest monthly level ever recorded.

For the whole of last year, the number of visitors from two countries registered a double-digit growth. Visitor arrivals from Malaysia grew 18 percent, while those from Vietnam grew 11 percent.

Indonesia led the top five markets in 2009, with 1,745,000 visitors to Singapore. The others included China (937,000), Australia (830,000) and Malaysia (764,000). These markets made up over half of total visitor arrivals to Singapore last year.

The STB attributed this partly to aggressive airline and marketing promotions.

STB chief executive, Aw Kah Peng, said: "We're optimistic that it would continue because the global outlook on the economy is better and also we have a number of significant developments this year.

"The opening of integrated resorts, major events like F1 which will continue to happen, the Youth Olympic Games which will take place in August, some new initiatives that we've just announced like the Asian Fashion Exchange.

"As the consumer sentiment strengthens, and particularly in Asia, we do expect that this momentum can be sustained."

Tourism receipts between January and December last year registered S$12.4 billion, similar to the levels seen in 2006. Although the number is at the high end of the initial forecast of between S$12 billion and S$12.5 billion for 2009, it is still a 19 percent decline compared to the same period in 2008. (1$=S$1.4)

The top markets for tourism receipts included Indonesia (S$2,123 million), China (S$1,403 million) and Australia (S$934 million). These markets accounted for 49% of total tourism receipts in 2009.

For the hotel industry, the average occupancy rate for 2009 stood at 76 percent, a year-on-year drop of 4.6 percentage points.

Last year, Singapore saw an additional 2,740 hotel rooms in the industry. That brings the total hotel room inventory in Singapore to above 41,000.


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