Visits to Singapore down 86pct in 2020 at 2.74mln

Visits to Singapore down 86pct in 2020 at 2.74mln

Singapore’s visitor arrivals for 2020 declined by 85.7 percent year-on-year to 2.74 million: most of those that came, did so in the first two months of the year, before the full effects of the Covid-19 pandemic took hold.

For 2021, the outlook for tourism arrivals and tourism receipts is likely to “remain weak”, in the absence of a return of mass-market leisure travel, said Singapore Tourism Board in a Monday statement.

The city-state’s Casino Regulatory Authority said in its annual report for 2019-2020, issued in October, that most users of Singapore’s two casino complexes – Resorts World Sentosa, promoted by Genting Singapore Ltd, and Marina Bay Sands (pictured), promoted by a unit of United States-based Las Vegas Sands Corp, are non-Singaporeans.

A November note from Maybank Investment Bank Bhd, suggested that Genting Singapore’s return to profit in the third quarter, had been aided by local players, amid the widespread travel restrictions around the region.

Of the 2.74 million visitor arrivals to Singapore in 2020, around 88.4 percent – or 2.42 million – were recorded for the first two months of that year, according to the tourism board’s latest statistics.

Southeast Asia was the largest-single source region, providing 896,550 arrivals. The tally was nevertheless an 86.5 percent year-on-year decline.

Singapore had 2.16 million overnight visitors for 2020, an 85.1-percent year-on-year decline. The average length of stay among all visitors, was 4.29 days, the official data indicate.

The city-state has faced “unprecedented global travel restrictions and border closures”, which led to the decline in its visitor tally and tourism receipts, the tourism board statement said. Tourism receipts in the first three quarters of 2020 declined by 78.4 percent year-on-year to SGD4.4 billion (US$3.3 billion).

Singapore saw sequential increase in the monthly visitor-arrival tally, starting in May, as the city-state gradually eased entry restrictions for people from certain places. From December 18, travellers from Taiwan were exempted from a quarantine period, provided they held a test result showing them ‘negative’ for Covid-19. Before that, there had been some easing of conditions for travellers from, respectively, Australia, Brunei Darussalam, mainland China, New Zealand and Vietnam.

For the full month of December, Singapore had 24,010 visitors – the highest monthly tally since March 2020, according to the tourism board’s latest data.

“Singapore Tourism Board remains confident in Singapore’s position as one of the world’s safest and most attractive leisure and business destinations, and [in] the long-term prospects of Singapore’s tourism sector,” the tourism body’s chief executive, Keith Tan, was cited as saying in the Monday release.

The Monday statement highlighted that 2021 was still likely to see weak numbers, tourist-wise, on the ground that it will “take time” for leisure travel and “traveller confidence” to return, even with the development of vaccines against Covid-19.

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