Tourist spending in Singapore has increased by 15% in the first quarter of 2017, with tourism receipts reaching SG$6.4 billion, according to Singapore Tourism Board's (STB) Q1 2017 Tourism Sector Performance report.
The growth in tourism receipts can be attributed to higher visitor arrivals, as well as increase in all major components excluding sightseeing, entertainment and gaming (SEG) which maintained at SG$1,080 million. The components include shopping (25%), accomodation (24%) and food and beverage (11%).
China, Indonesia and India topped the list of tourism spending in Singapore, each generating SG$1,075 million, SG$688 million and SG$302 million respectively. Australia and Japan were among the top five, contributing SG$280 million and SG$259 million in tourism receipts respectively.
The number of international visitors also grew 4% in the first quarter to hit 4.3 million visitors. Tourists from China, Indonesia, Malaysia, Australia and India formed the top five international visitor-generating markets. The number of visitors from China increased by 14% to 851,000 in 2017, while Australia (272,000) and India (241,000) also registered a year-on-year growth of 6% and 7% respectively. On the other hand, Hong Kong (-29%), Thailand (-7%) and South Korea (-5%) posted year-on-year declines.
Despite the growth in tourism receipts and international visitors, gazetted hotel revenue during the same period experienced a year-on-year decline by 1.3% to SG$0.8 billion. While the average occupancy rate (AOR) saw an increase of 1.3% to 86% in the first quarter, the average room rate (ARR) dropped by 2.8% to SG$233 during the same period. Revenue per available room (RevPAR) also dropped 1.2% year-on-year to SG$199 due to a lower ARR.
Over the last year, to encourage more tourists, STB embarked on several marketing campaigns and partnerships to target consumers around the region. STB's spokesperson said the growth in tourism receipts was due to higher visitor arrivals and higher spend on shopping (+38%), accommodation (+18%) and food and beverage (+14%).
"Since the second quarter of 2016, we have observed a changing profile in visitors coming from major cities who are spending more in these categories – shopping, accommodation and food & beverage. STB and the industry have been intensifying marketing efforts to attract more visitors through strategic marketing partnerships and expansion of our digital footprint," the spokesperson added.
Nonetheless, earlier this year, STB tied up with Singapore Airlines to launch a campaign to promote the “Singapore Stopover Holiday” package to the Australian market. The interactive website helps increase awareness of the package and at the same time encourage Australians to visit Singapore. STB also appointed Adrian Kong as area director, South Asia in February to oversee the board’s tourism promotion, marketing and developmental efforts in South and West India and Sri Lanka.
In 2016, STB launched a campaign in Malaysia targeting weekend travellers titled "Long weekends are for..." and a family-friendly travel campaign titled "Singapore Junior". This was to leverage on the repeat visitors looking for a quite weekend getaway and family travellers.
STB also launched an integrated marketing campaign in Indonesia titled "Singapura Serunya Bareng Bareng" (Singapore, fun for all), together with Royal Caribbean International and Gardens By The Bay. It also partnered with stakeholders to roll out roadshows and media buys.
In China, it signed a deal with Tencent last month to jointly promote Singapore as a destination of choice for Chinese travellers through the use of Tencent IBG’s targeted advertising solutions. STB also launched marketing initiatives on digital channels, such as TV commercials, to target audiences in tier 1 and 2 cities. STB also rolled out a marketing campaign titled "新有灵犀 从心发现" with travel e-commerce platforms Tuniu and Ctrip to promote longer mono-Singapore travel packages, allowing Chinese visitors to experience the country in more ways.
The tourism board recently extended its communications partnership with Synergy Hill+Knowlton Strategies for the South Korean market. The agency will assist STB with various activities in South Korea, including media strategy, external communications, content creation and PR event coordination.
It also inked a Memorandum of Understanding with South Korean internet company Kakao to create Traveline Singapore, a dedicated mobile platform that promises to bring more relevant and compelling travel content on Singapore to South Koreans.