The number of international visitors entering Singapore fell by almost 88% year-on-year to just 330,000 in 2021, while tourism receipts dropped by more than half to SG$1.9 billion (US$1.4 billion), according to figures published by the Singapore Tourism Board (STB).
This compared with 2.7 million international visitor arrivals and tourism receipts of SG$4.8 billion (US$3.6 billion) in 2020, already well down from the 19.1 million arrivals and SG$27.1 billion (US$20.2 billion) in receipts recorded pre-COVID in 2019.
Average tourism receipts per visitor in 2019, 2020 and 2021 respectively were SG$1,419, SG$1,778 and SG$5,758 (US$1,058, US$1,333 and US$4,242).
The decline in visitation and total tourism receipts reflects the ongoing impact of the COVID-19 pandemic throughout the past year, although the STB said there had been “encouraging signs” of recovery in the tourism sector, with year-on-year growth in the last three quarters of 2021.
Buoyed by the launch of Vaccinated Travel Lanes – a key initiative of Singapore’s efforts to reopen its borders to international travellers from approved countries – the number of international visitor arrivals in the last three quarters of 2021 (April to December) grew 221% year-on-year while the second and third quarters alone saw 92% growth over the same period in 2020.
Primary source markets in 2021 were China, with 88,000 arrivals, followed by India (54,000) and Indonesia (33,000).
“While it will take time for tourism numbers to return to pre-pandemic levels, we are encouraged by the resilience of our tourism businesses and their commitment to preserve good jobs, transform their businesses, and invest in new products and experiences,” said STB CEO, Keith Tan. “These efforts will strengthen Singapore’s appeal as we prepare to welcome more international visitors.
“We must anticipate setbacks and challenges even as the tourism industry recovers slowly. But I am confident that the tourism industry has learnt from its experiences and is poised to recapture demand when it returns.”
The STB also revealed that Singapore’s hotel industry registered an Average Occupancy Rate (AOR) of 56.2% in 2021, down 1.1 percentage points compared to 2020. However, the Average Room Rate increased by 2.7% to SG$158 (US$116).