International tourists spent the most in Singapore among Asia Pacific destinations last year, coming in ahead of other hotspots such as Bangkok and Tokyo, according to the latest findings from Mastercard released on Wednesday (Apr 26).
According to the Mastercard Asia Pacific Destinations Index 2017, international tourists spent US$15.4 billion (S$21.5 billion) last year, while Bangkok took in US$12.7 billion and Tokyo, US$11.1 billion.
And this has been an ongoing trend. The payments provider said Singapore has tracked an 18 per cent jump in visitor spend over the past two years, or 2015 to 2016.
However, it was Bangkok that took top spot in terms of the region's most-visited destination. The Thai capital drew 19.3 million visitors, while Singapore was the second most-visited destination with 13.1 million visitors and Tokyo third with 12.6 million last year, the findings showed.
Of the five destinations in the region to garner a minimum spend of US$200 a day from these visitors, Singapore attracted the highest-spending visitors at US$254 per day, compared with Beijing's US$242 and Shanghai's US$234, it added.
Singapore also maintained its position as a regional travel hub, both as an origin and feeder city, Mastercard said. Chinese travellers accounted for the largest share of arrivals into Singapore at 17.5 per cent, or about 2.3 million visitors, followed by travellers from Indonesia (2 million visitors) and India (920,000 visitors).
As a feeder city, Singapore leads all intra-regional arrivals in Southeast Asian destinations with 6.3 per cent, or 7.9 million visitors, the findings showed.
Local authorities have been keen to promote the country as a choice stopover, with Changi Airport, Singapore Airlines and the Singapore Tourism Board inking a three-year renewal of partnership to do just that.
"Over the last two years, Singapore has experienced an 18 per cent growth in visitor expenditure, demonstrating that our city-state has reaped the benefits of its many leisure offerings – from tourist attractions to new and different lifestyle and retail experiences," said Mastercard Singapore country manager Deborah Heng.
"Singapore has solidified its position as a leading travel destination in the Asia Pacific region, boasting the highest overall tourist expenditure. This will encourage both the public and private sector to work together to develop new initiatives that will build on the work done to date.”
From Singapore Tourism Board: Well there are a few things we are doing which I can talk about. I think the first is in the area of pursuing our event strategy, and that's something that we're very committed to, both on the business event side as well as on the leisure event side.
It's extremely important that we continue to attract a stream of high quality leisure and business events to Singapore that would draw people to come to Singapore. So in this year for example, we are happy to announce that we have the UFC Fight Night, it's coming in June.
We have the International Champions Cup which will see top European clubs come to play, you know, top European clubs come to play in Singapore this year and for the next four years as well so doing things like that helps to drive visitorship to us, pursuing that event strategy.
The second thing we're doing, is pursuing the right partnerships. So, partnerships with Changi Airport and Singapore Airlines, you know, allow us to go into the international marketing space in a much more concerted way and effective way.
We also have very good partnerships with JTB in Japan and flight center in Australia and that's helping us to drive tourists from those destinations as well.
I think there are a range of destinations in this region which are competitive. The good news is that Asia Pacific growth for travel and tourism is very robust and expected to be robust in the medium term.
So I think there's a lot of growth to go around, it's incumbent on each one of us to do what we need to do to remain competitive.
So for Singapore, we're choosing to pursue an events strategy where making sure that our tourism infrastructure continues to be able to support tourism growth whether it's in cruise, or whether it's in business events and so these are the things that we will do to keep competitive.
I think for those of us in travel & tourism, definitely these more macro geopolitical type of developments will have some bearing.
At the end of the day, I think we thrive best in a situation where we have economies which are stable & growing, where there is relative peace and stability.
So, these things definitely will have an impact on us. Hence, when we do our outlook and forecast, for this year, we are mindful of the growth potential. But we are also mindful that there could be some of these things that could drag growth down.
That you can get so much done, in a relatively small space, that there is so much that we can offer here, and you can have a very meaningful stay here and move around very efficiently, and safely, and so much to discover in one small space.