February 25, 2024

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Singapore’s Tourism Sector Posts Strong Recovery in 2023

Singapore’s tourism sector recovered strongly and demonstrated resilience with a solid performance for 2023. International visitor arrivals (IVA) reached 13.6 million in 2023 (~71 per cent of 2019 IVA), meeting STB’s forecast of between 12.0 and 14.0 million visitors. Tourism receipts (TR) are estimated to reach $24.5 to $26.0 billion[1] (~88-94 per cent of 2019 TR), surpassing STB’s forecast of $18.0 to $21.0 billion set out in 2023.

Ms Melissa Ow, Chief Executive, Singapore Tourism Board (STB), said: “The robust performance in 2023 signals a promising recovery for tourism, in line with increasing flight capacity and growth in international travel demand. Our strategy to attract a healthy and diverse visitor portfolio, comprising long and short-haul markets, has significantly contributed to our overall visitor arrivals, longer length of stay and growth in tourism receipts. Singapore’s thriving pipeline of business and leisure offerings demonstrates our continued appeal as an attractive and trusted tourism destination, and reflects the unwavering confidence our partners have in Singapore.”

2023 Tourism Performance

Visitor arrivals were driven by strong demand from a mix of Singapore’s key markets, led by Indonesia (2.3 million), China (1.4 million) and Malaysia (1.1 million). Other key markets that posted buoyant recovery included Australia, South Korea and the USA.

Tourism receipts reached $20.1 billion between January to September 2023. Full-year tourism receipts are expected to register between $24.5 and $26 billion. From January to September 2023, tourism receipts across all spend categories have either exceeded or recovered close to pre-pandemic levels, compared with the same period in 2019. For the first nine months of 2023, the top TR-generating markets were China, Indonesia and Australia, which contributed $2.3 billion, $2.2 billion, and $1.5 billion respectively in TR (excluding Sightseeing, Entertainment and Gaming)[2].

Visitors also spent more time in Singapore compared to before the pandemic. The average length of stay in 2023 was approximately 3.8 days. This is an increase compared to 3.4 days for the same period in 2019.

Please refer to Annex A for charts.

Key Industry Performance in 2023

MICE and Leisure Events

Singapore is a global-Asia node for MICE and business. With business travel to Singapore and the region steadily regaining momentum in 2023, STB remains committed to attracting and nurturing quality business events that align with Singapore’s identified growth and priority industries, such as advanced manufacturing, aerospace and logistics, applied health sciences and financial services.

STB successfully secured several significant business events that took place in Singapore for the first time in 2023. These include SILMO Singapore, transport logistic Southeast Asia, Bar Convent Singapore, the 25th World Congress of Dermatology 2023, Million Dollar Round Table (MDRT) Global Conference 2023, and the International Trademark Association (INTA) 2023 Annual Meeting Live+. These accomplishments underscore Singapore’s growing prominence as a leading destination for impactful and influential business gatherings.

In addition, our robust leisure and sporting events calendar plays a pivotal role in elevating Singapore’s international mindshare and reinforcing our position as an attractive leisure destination. In 2023, Singapore proudly hosted several notable inaugural events, including the successful debut of ART SG, Southeast Asia’s largest-ever art fair, in conjunction with the Singapore Art Week. New events like the Capcom Pro Tour 2023 Offline Premier Singapore, Professional Triathletes Organisation (PTO) Asian Open and WB100 Celebrating Every Story (Warner Bros.) further enriched Singapore’s leisure landscape, contributing to the city’s vibrancy.

Please refer to Annex B for other key MICE and Leisure Events in 2023.

Hotel Industry Performance

Singapore’s hotel industry performance in 2023 was encouraging, driven by stronger demand for leisure and business travel. In 2023, Average Room Rate (ARR) and Revenue per Available Room (RevPAR) surpassed 2019 levels, reaching $282 (~128 per cent of 2019 ARR) and $226 (~118 per cent of 2019 RevPAR) respectively. The average Occupancy Rate (AOR) was 80.1 per cent in 2023, compared to 86.9 per cent in the same period in 2019.

In 2023, the hotel industry welcomed an addition of 3,210 new hotel keys. The unveiling of new establishments such as Pan Pacific Orchard, Mondrian Singapore Duxton, Artyzen Singapore, and The Singapore EDITION has redefined the standards of hospitality and expanded the accommodation options for visitors. Investments made by the private sector in these new hotel developments underscore their confidence in Singapore’s longer-term tourism prospects.

Cruise Industry Performance

Singapore’s position as a regional cruise hub strengthened in 2023 with a record 2 million passenger throughput received from more than 340 ship calls, since the opening of the Marina Bay Cruise Centre Singapore. In 2023, Royal Caribbean International’s Spectrum of the Seas and Resorts World Cruises’ Genting Dream continued its year-round homeport at Marina Bay Cruise Centre Singapore. TUI Cruises, Marella Cruises and Silversea Cruises continued their seasonal homeport while several maiden port calls were made by Virgin Voyages’ Resilient Lady and Celebrity Cruises’ Celebrity Edge. The healthy number of ship calls demonstrates the industry’s commitment to realise the strong potential of cruising in Singapore and the region. In addition, STB and Disney Cruise Line signed a MOU to collaborate on the exclusive five-year year-round homeporting of Disney Adventure in Singapore from 2025. 2023 Highlights Investments that enhance destination attractiveness In 2023, Singapore anchored several first-of-its-kind tourism concepts in Singapore, while refreshing and rejuvenating existing offerings. We also tapped on our global network of strategic partners to develop tourism products, and supported tourism stakeholders to leverage technology and innovation, to enhance the overall visitor experience.

New Attractions and Enhanced Experiences

Singapore welcomed new and enhanced experiences, including HyperDrive, the gamified electric Go-Kart at Sentosa; Bird Paradise; KidzWorld at the Singapore Zoo; and the world’s first surf-snow-skate attraction TRIFECTA, right in the heart of Orchard Road.

Singapore’s tour operators introduced new and innovative tours, including the Zero to Hero Food Sustainability Tour by Tribe Tours, Changi Airport & Jewel Guided Tour by Monster Day Tours and Hush: Night Food Tour through Geylang by Indie Singapore.

STB also partnered Google to pilot the development of Augmented Reality (AR) experiences for tourists by creating an immersive AR-guided tour on STB’s VisitSingapore app. Through the app, visitors can interact with Merlion Park and Victoria Theatre & Concert Hall in a more engaging way.

Digital transformation for tourism businesses

On the technology front, STB launched the Attractions Technology Roadmap and the Tourism (Attractions) Industry Digital Plan (IDP)[3], jointly developed with the Infocomm Media Development Authority (IMDA), to guide local attractions, including small and medium enterprises (SMEs) to uplift their digital capability to drive business growth.

Tcube[4] has continued to play a pivotal role in supporting the digital transformation of the tourism sector through its various programmes. To date, it has successfully assisted more than 1,000 local tourism companies in their digital transformation journey.

Sustainability

Singapore was certified as a sustainable destination based on the Global Sustainable Tourism Council (GSTC) Destination Criteria, after being the first to apply the certification process on a country level, and came in 2nd in Asia Pacific and 17th globally in the 2023 Global Destination Sustainability Index.

STB, together with the Singapore Association of Convention & Exhibition Organisers & Suppliers (SACEOS) and the Association of Singapore Attractions (ASA), is working in partnership with GSTC to develop new GSTC Criteria for MICE and Attractions respectively, which aim to serve as the global sustainability standards for both industries.

STB has worked with local industry associations to develop industry-specific roadmaps in the hotels[5] and MICE[6] sectors, providing clear directions towards sustainability outcomes, such as achieving internationally-recognised industry-specific certification. STB will continue to bring together Singapore’s tourism stakeholders to drive sustainable tourism as part of the Singapore Green Plan 2030.

Global marketing efforts to create greater mindshare for Singapore as a choice destination

In September 2023, we launched our latest global marketing campaign, “Made in Singapore”, to capture the mindshare of travellers and inspire them to choose Singapore as their next destination. The campaign puts a fresh spin on our Passion Made Possible destination brand and focuses on how Singapore transforms familiar, everyday moments into extraordinary and memorable experiences for travellers.

Branded Collaborations and Strategic Partnerships

STB has expanded its branded entertainment partnerships with leading media and entertainment companies across film, TV and music formats, and engaged celebrity influencers to inspire travel to Singapore through creative storytelling. These included a collaboration with Warner Music Singapore to feature local artiste Nathan Hartono and his latest music profiling Singapore’s iconic locations and hidden gems, as well as working with former F1 world champion Jenson Button to showcase some of Singapore’s most exhilarating experiences. STB in its three-year partnership with Warner Bros. Discovery introduced its first-ever localised Tom and Jerry seven-episode animation series released across channels such as Cartoon Network Asia TV and its YouTube channels, as well as its HBO GO streaming platform, in the APAC region.

STB also made its first foray into one of the world’s most popular online game platforms Roblox, with Singapore Wanderland. Singapore Wanderland puts a playful spin on real-life attractions to inspire travel to Singapore and has drawn over 6 million visits since its launch in May 2023.

Strategic and innovative partnerships were also forged with industry leaders such as Singapore Airlines Group, DBS, CapitaLand, Trip.com and Klook. These partnerships allowed STB and partners to exchange consumer insights, enhance visitor experience, and promote Singapore to drive post-arrival spend. Going forward, STB will continue to leverage our understanding of traveller profiles and collaborate with both local and overseas partners to target the right audiences and promote Singapore as a choice destination.

Manpower and Capability Building in the Tourism Sector

As of September 2023, the total tourism workforce has recovered to around 72,000 – about 88 per cent of 2019 levels[7]. STB remains committed to facilitating hiring for the tourism sector, through programmes such as the Career Conversion Programme (CCP) for Tourism Professionals under Workforce Singapore (WSG), which aims to support tourism companies to train new hires and reskill existing workers for job roles in the tourism-related industries including Hotel, MICE, Attractions and Tour and Travel. Additionally, we will continue with the Tourism Careers Campaign, to increase awareness of the dynamic nature of the tourism sector and encourage jobseekers to pursue their passions and consider a career in tourism.

2024 Outlook

STB expects the tourism sector’s recovery to continue in 2024, driven by improved global flight connectivity and capacity as well as the implementation of the mutual 30-day visa-free travel between China and Singapore. In 2024, international flight capacity is expected to continue to increase, with capacity at or approaching pre-pandemic levels for the majority of our key source markets.

The latest data[8] from the International Air Transport Association (IATA) indicates that although global international air travel demand in 2023 is below pre-pandemic levels, the gap is rapidly closing. The Association of Asia Pacific Airlines (AAPA) notes that Asia Pacific carriers have seen healthy growth in international passenger demand throughout the year, in tandem with the restoration of flight frequencies and connectivity9. Overall, the outlook for air travel demand remains positive.

2024 international visitor arrivals are expected to reach around 15 to 16 million, bringing in approximately $26.0 to $27.5 billion in tourism receipts. Geopolitical uncertainty, the state of the global economy and other factors such as the continued restoration of flight connectivity will have a bearing on the pace of travel recovery.

Ms Ow said, “To sustain our growth in 2024 and beyond, STB will focus on achieving quality tourism, cultivating strategic partnerships, investing in new and refreshed products and experiences, and supporting stakeholders in building capabilities.”

Looking ahead to 2024, the industry can anticipate exciting developments, including upcoming hotel openings, new experiences at the two integrated resorts, and a vibrant line-up of leisure offerings featuring global pop culture, lifestyle events, and music festivals. Additionally, Singapore will host top-tier MICE events, further solidifying its position on the global stage.

Please refer to Annex C for other key MICE and Leisure Events in 2024.

PARTNER

Qlik’s vision is a data-literate world, where everyone can use data and analytics to improve decision-making and solve their most challenging problems. A private company, Qlik offers real-time data integration and analytics solutions, powered by Qlik Cloud, to close the gaps between data, insights and action. By transforming data into Active Intelligence, businesses can drive better decisions, improve revenue and profitability, and optimize customer relationships. Qlik serves more than 38,000 active customers in over 100 countries.

PARTNER

CTC Global Singapore, a premier end-to-end IT solutions provider, is a fully owned subsidiary of ITOCHU Techno-Solutions Corporation (CTC) and ITOCHU Corporation.

Since 1972, CTC has established itself as one of the country’s top IT solutions providers. With 50 years of experience, headed by an experienced management team and staffed by over 200 qualified IT professionals, we support organizations with integrated IT solutions expertise in Autonomous IT, Cyber Security, Digital Transformation, Enterprise Cloud Infrastructure, Workplace Modernization and Professional Services.

Well-known for our strengths in system integration and consultation, CTC Global proves to be the preferred IT outsourcing destination for organizations all over Singapore today.

PARTNER

Planview has one mission: to build the future of connected work. Our solutions enable organizations to connect the business from ideas to impact, empowering companies to accelerate the achievement of what matters most. Planview’s full spectrum of Portfolio Management and Work Management solutions creates an organizational focus on the strategic outcomes that matter and empowers teams to deliver their best work, no matter how they work. The comprehensive Planview platform and enterprise success model enables customers to deliver innovative, competitive products, services, and customer experiences. Headquartered in Austin, Texas, with locations around the world, Planview has more than 1,300 employees supporting 4,500 customers and 2.6 million users worldwide. For more information, visit www.planview.com.

SUPPORTING ORGANISATION

SIRIM is a premier industrial research and technology organisation in Malaysia, wholly-owned by the Minister​ of Finance Incorporated. With over forty years of experience and expertise, SIRIM is mandated as the machinery for research and technology development, and the national champion of quality. SIRIM has always played a major role in the development of the country’s private sector. By tapping into our expertise and knowledge base, we focus on developing new technologies and improvements in the manufacturing, technology and services sectors. We nurture Small Medium Enterprises (SME) growth with solutions for technology penetration and upgrading, making it an ideal technology partner for SMEs.

PARTNER

HashiCorp provides infrastructure automation software for multi-cloud environments, enabling enterprises to unlock a common cloud operating model to provision, secure, connect, and run any application on any infrastructure. HashiCorp tools allow organizations to deliver applications faster by helping enterprises transition from manual processes and ITIL practices to self-service automation and DevOps practices. 

PARTNER

IBM is a leading global hybrid cloud and AI, and business services provider. We help clients in more than 175 countries capitalize on insights from their data, streamline business processes, reduce costs and gain the competitive edge in their industries. Nearly 3,000 government and corporate entities in critical infrastructure areas such as financial services, telecommunications and healthcare rely on IBM’s hybrid cloud platform and Red Hat OpenShift to affect their digital transformations quickly, efficiently and securely. IBM’s breakthrough innovations in AI, quantum computing, industry-specific cloud solutions and business services deliver open and flexible options to our clients. All of this is backed by IBM’s legendary commitment to trust, transparency, responsibility, inclusivity and service.

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