PHOTO: A night scene in Singapore. (Photo via Flickr/Mike Behnken)
On Tuesday, tourism officials announced that Singapore broke new records for tourist arrivals and spending in 2016.
According to the Straits Times, the Singapore Tourism Board (STB) revealed during a press conference that the number of travelers visiting the country reached 16.4 million last year, an increase of 7.7 percent from 2015.
The STB also revealed that tourism spending increased 13.9 percent to $24.8 billion in 2016, a much-welcomed improvement from the 7.6 percent drop to $21.8 billion in 2015. The tourism board is crediting “growth of the China market and visitors spending more on food and beverage, shopping and accommodation.”
Retail in Singapore increased as well, with tourist spending on shopping climbing 48 percent between January and September 2016, as compared to the same period the previous year. Visitors also spent 28 percent more on accommodation and 24 percent more on food and beverages. The cruise industry also grew, jumping 16 percent to about 1.2 million passengers.
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“Despite challenges such as weaker economic performance in some of Singapore's top source markets and a Zika virus outbreak, Singapore has managed to attract more quality visitors to contribute to economic growth,” STB chief executive Lionel Yeo said in a statement.
Singapore officials did report a 16 percent drop in sightseeing, entertainment and gaming revenue, though. As for where the record number of tourists are arriving from, Indonesia, China, Malaysia, India and Australia were the five countries which visited Singapore the most.
In a forecast for 2017, STB officials expect tourist arrivals to be between 16.4 million and 16.7 million and spending to be between $25.1 billion to $25.8 billion.