Both tourism receipts and visitor arrivals for 2017 attained record highs for the second time in two years.
Tourism receipts rose by 3.9 per cent to $26.8 billion, due primarily to growth in visitor arrivals across all top 10 markets and stronger higher visitor arrivals from high-spending markets such as China, South Korea, United States and United Kingdom. Visitor arrivals increased by 6.2 per cent to 17.4 million, with 13 markets in the top 15 showing growth.
Chief Executive of Singapore Tourism Board (STB), Mr Lionel Yeo, said, “STB is pleased to report a second consecutive year of record tourism performance. The combined efforts of STB and our industry partners yielded strong results, against a context of better-than-expected global economic recovery, continued growth in Asia-Pacific travel and increased flight and cruise connectivity to Singapore. Together with significant initiatives to support industry innovation and competitiveness, we made excellent progress in 2017 towards our vision of quality tourism growth.”
From January to September 2017, tourism receipts grew strongly across most of Singapore’s top ten markets. China (+10%), United States (+22%) and United Kingdom (+24%) registered the highest year-on-year growth in Tourism Receipts. China also emerged top in tourism receipts for the third consecutive year followed by Indonesia
13 out of Singapore’s top 15 markets registered growth in 2017, with seven of them – China, India, Vietnam, Philippines, United States, United Kingdom and Germany – also hitting record visitor arrivals.
The top three largest markets for visitor arrivals were China, Indonesia, and India. Notably, India (+16%) saw the highest growth rate and, together with China (+13%), contributed bulk of the growth in visitor arrivals. Another highlight market for the year was Vietnam (+13%), which became a top 10 market for the first time.
Visitor arrival from Indonesia grew by 2 per cent to reach 2.954 million in 2017. The growth is in line with the overall positive Indonesia outbound travel sentiments. December 2017 saw the highest ever Indonesia visitor arrivals in a month reaching 330,081.
“Jakarta continues to be the largest source of visitor arrivals although most of the cities outside of Jakarta experienced greater growth in 2017. Tapping the growth potential in cities outside of Jakarta will remain one of our key focus in 2018. Our newly established Regional Office in Surabaya (in October 2017) will enable us to intensify our marketing presence in Eastern Java, Bali and Sulawesi while the Jakarta Regional Office will focus on Central and Western Java and Sumatra,” said Mr Raymond Lim, Area Director Indonesia.
Cruising out of Singapore was given a boost in 2017 with more ship calls to reach 421, of which16 were maiden calls. “The trend of cruising out of Singapore among Indonesians and other key source markets will continue into 2018. It is with this in mind that a new Cruise Development Fund scheme was rolled out to encourage marketing of cruise packages that encourage pre and post cruise stayover itinerary in Singapore,” added Mr Lim.
Meeting and Incentive (M&I) group travel by Indonesia companies to Singapore experienced significant growth in 2017. “The various schemes3 that we have offered to support corporates and Indonesian M&I intermediaries have worked very well to enable us to secure many high profile M&I groups in 2017. The trend of M&I groups choosing to go board cruises out of Singapore for a different incentive travel experience has also grown,” said Mr Lim.
Key Highlights of 2017
STB and the Economic Development Board (EDB) introduced a unified brand for Singapore last year – Passion Made Possible, which connects Singapore with the international audience on a deeper level through authentic stories and representations about Singapore. The new destination brand was launched in Singapore in August 2017, followed by more than 17 overseas markets through consumer activations, trade events, industry partnerships, and global marketing campaigns featuring campaign films and visuals.
Response from international media and trade partners has been very positive, with most applauding the fresh and inspirational approach to destination marketing. There was also good international media coverage, generating a total media value of S$11.3 million. The new brand films garnered a total viewership of more than 192 million, and social media engagements on the new brand hit 3.19 million.
In Indonesia, the new brand campaign was launched on 6 September 2017 with the announcement of new destination ambassador – Gading Marten and Gisella Anastasia (and their child Gempi). A family who enjoys exploring and will pursue their individual passions while travelling, they personify our new brand positioning to inspire Indonesians to fulfill their passions in Singapore.
STB expands its Marketing Partnerships
To extend its reach, STB continued to expand its marketing partnerships, including the renewal of a three-year tripartite partnership with Changi Airport Group (CAG) and Singapore Airlines (SIA). STB also forged a further three-year partnership with SIA and a one-year partnership with CAG. The partnership with SIA saw the launch of a new SIA in-flight safety video which showcases Singapore in a refreshing way. Under the CAG partnership, STB continued to invest in Chinese and Indonesian tier 2 cities to drive more visitor arrivals to Singapore.
Last year, STB announced a string of new branded events such as the Disney Star Wars events (under a three-year partnership with Disney), Ultimate Fighting Championship (UFC) Fight Night Singapore and International Champions Cup Singapore (ICC). It also renewed the Formula One Singapore Grand Prix for another four years. The anchoring of these world-class events forms part of STB’s event strategy to enhance Singapore’s destination attractiveness. STB also continued to grow local events such as Christmas on A Great Street at Orchard Road and Anime Festival Asia, as well as deliver new ones like the Michelin Street Food Festival and Singapore Festival of Fun.
To maintain Singapore’s status as a top MICE city, STB supported a diversity of notable business events, for instance, Singapore Fintech Festival and VitaFoods Asia. It also strengthened Singapore’s pipeline of business events through securing significant events such as Money20/20 Asia and Rotary International Convention.
Singapore’s vibrant tourism landscape was further embellished by new attractions and lifestyle offerings such as the Digital Light Canvas at Marina Bay Sands, Dover Street Market at Dempsey and AJ Hackett bungy jump at Sentosa, as well as enhanced tourism offerings such as Maritime Experiential Museum at Resorts World Sentosa and Madame Tussauds at Sentosa.
“The record numbers in visitor arrivals and tourism receipts last year are echoed at ION Orchard, which welcomed high footfall and revenues. To further enhance the retail experience, we rolled out a new ION Sky multimedia experience that features Singapore’s heritage and culture and launched a Global Tax Free Counter for tax refund queries and tickets,” said Mr Chris Chong, Chief, Executive Officer, Orchard Turn Developments Pte Ltd.
2018 Outlook and Forecast
For 2018, STB forecasts tourism receipts to be in the range of $27.1 to $27.6 billion (+1 to +3%) and international visitor arrivals to be in the range of 17.6 to 18.1 million (+1 to +4%).
“For the Indonesia market, our target is to maintain growth and work towards surpassing the mark of 3 million Indonesian visitor arrivals in 2018. Tapping into first time traveller market, growing the Muslim traveller market and enhancing our marketing presence in cities outside of Jakarta are some of our growth strategies this year,” said Mr Lim.
With global economic outlook looking favourable and Asia-Pacific tourism poised to expand, STB is generally optimistic about tourism prospects for the year ahead. There are challenges that remain, however, especially geopolitical tensions that might affect consumer travel sentiments and intensifying regional competition.
STB will augment its marketing efforts and roll out more initiatives in destination attractiveness and industry competitiveness to stay on course for quality tourism growth.