International arrivals exceed forecast to hit 6.3 million, tourism receipts reach an estimated $14 billion amid growing demand.
SINGAPORE – Singapore’s international visitor arrivals (IVA) reached 6.3 million in 2022 (~33 per cent of 2019 IVA), exceeding STB’s forecast of between 4 and 6 million visitors. Tourism receipts (TR) are estimated to reach $13.8 to $14.3 billion (~50 per cent to 52 per cent of 2019 TR). Barring unexpected circumstances, tourism activity is now expected to recover to pre-pandemic levels by 2024.
Mr Keith Tan, Chief Executive, Singapore Tourism Board (STB), said: “Our 2022 tourism performance underscores Singapore’s appeal as a leading business and leisure destination for post-pandemic travellers. To sustain our growth in 2023 and beyond, we will expand our partnerships, build up a rich year-round calendar of events, ramp up investment in new and refreshed products and experiences, and continue to support industry efforts to build the capabilities they need to meet consumer demands.”
2022 Tourism Performance
Visitor arrivals were driven by strong demand from Singapore’s key source markets, led by Indonesia (1.1 million), India (686,000) and Malaysia (591,000).
TR reached $8.96 billion between January to September 2022. The top TR generating markets were Indonesia, India and Australia, which contributed $1.1 billion, $704 million, and $633 million respectively in TR (excluding Sightseeing, Entertainment and Gaming).
Visitors are also spending more time in Singapore compared to before the pandemic. For the last three quarters of the year (April-December 2022) when Singapore no longer required quarantine for fully-vaccinated travellers, the average length of stay was approximately 4.81 days. This is a significant increase compared to 3.36 days for the same period in 2019.
Key Industry Performance
MICE and Leisure Events
The resumption of MICE events picked up pace in 2022, following the easing of border restrictions and safe management measures. Marquee international events returned to Singapore, including Food and Hotel Asia – Food & Beverage and Food and Hotel Asia – HoReCa, which took place as two dedicated trade shows for the first time, ITB Asia, and Singapore Fintech Festival, which attracted a record turnout from over 115 countries. STB also secured new events like FIND: Design Fair Asia as well as Global Health Security Conference 2022 and the 14th World Stroke Congress, which reinforced Singapore’s leadership in key industry clusters.
Singapore’s calendar of leisure and sporting events also recovered strongly. The Formula 1 Singapore Airlines Singapore Grand Prix 2022 – held after a two-year hiatus – drew a record attendance of 302,000; the Tour de France Prudential Singapore Criterium also made its Southeast Asian debut. Regular crowd-pleasers such as the Singapore Food Festival, Christmas Wonderland, Christmas on A Great Street at Orchard Road, the Marina Bay Singapore Countdown and ZoukOut Singapore were all organised successfully and drew visitors from around the world.
Hotels Industry Performance
Singapore’s hotel industry also posted an encouraging year due to stronger demand for leisure and business travel. From April to December 2022, the Average Occupancy Rate (AOR) was 79.1 per cent, compared to 87.3 per cent recorded in the same period in 2019. Average room rates during this period increased by 17 per cent to $260, while Revenue per Available Room (RevPAR) increased by 6.2 per cent to $206.
Singapore welcomed a total of 465 new keys in 2022 with the opening of new hotels like the Citadines Connect City and Garden Pod @ Gardens By The Bay Centre. New brands like Hotel Telegraph (formerly known as SO Singapore), Pullman Singapore Orchard (formerly known as Grand Park Orchard), voco Orchard Singapore (formerly known as Hilton Singapore at 581 Orchard Road) and Vibe Hotel Singapore Orchard (formerly known as Elizabeth Hotel) were also introduced. These investments underscored the private sector’s confidence in Singapore’s tourism prospects.
Cruise Industry Performance
Singapore’s position as a regional cruise hub strengthened in 2022 with more than 230 ship calls. Passenger throughput was 1.2 million, which is about two-thirds of pre-pandemic levels in 2019. The return of cruising was supported by the year-round deployment of Resorts World Cruises’ Genting Dream and Royal Caribbean International’s Quantum/Spectrum of the Seas. Following the resumption of sailings with ports of call in July, two new cruise lines made Singapore their seasonal homeport:
- STB’s new three-year partnership with Silversea Cruises will see its ships homeport seasonally in Singapore till the 2024/2025 season, with Silver Muse kicking off the first sailing from Singapore in December 2022.
- TUI Cruises‘ Mein Schiff 5 also returned to Southeast Asia in December 2022, starting their three-year seasonal homeport from Singapore and taking passengers to ports in Southeast Asia.
Singapore also welcomed the return of transit and turnaround sailings from Cunard, Seabourn Cruises, Viking Cruises, Oceania Cruises and Regent Seven Seas Cruises in 2022.
Branded Collaborations and Strategic Partnerships
To keep Singapore top-of-mind and rebuild demand, STB scaled up its SingapoReimagine campaign across 17 markets. It also increased Singapore’s appeal to consumers through innovative partnerships.
For example, STB collaborated with media and entertainment companies such as Warner Bros. Discovery and Studio Dragon, as well as celebrities Billie Eilish, Charlie Puth and Jackson Wang to inspire travel to Singapore through authentic and creative storytelling. STB also forged strategic partnerships with industry leaders such as Singapore Airlines, Scoot, CapitaLand, Expedia, Klook and Visa to promote Singapore, exchange insights and enhance the visitor experience.
Enhanced Destination Attractiveness
Singapore welcomed new and enhanced experiences, including the Children’s Museum Singapore; Avatar: The Experience at Gardens by the Bay; Sentosa’s Night Luge, Scentopia, Wings of Time and Central Beach Bazaar; a new gallery at ArtScience Museum’s Future World: “Exploring New Frontiers”; A Minion’s Perspective Experience at Resorts World Sentosa; Mr Bucket Chocolaterie at Dempsey; and the Singapore Night Safari’s new amphitheatre and refreshed Creatures of the Night show. The Changi Bay Park Connector and the Rifle Range Nature Park were also opened, strengthening Singapore’s attractiveness as a City in Nature.
Singapore’s tour operators continued to introduce new and innovative tours, including the Seadog Kayak Sailing Tour by Kayak Fishing Fever, Letters From Blakang Mati by Woopa Travel as well as Hawker Fare: Little India Street Food Tour.
Becoming an Urban Wellness Haven and a Top Sustainable Destination
To meet increasing demand for holistic wellness offerings, STB organised the inaugural Wellness Festival Singapore (WFS) in June 2022, which featured over 130 wellness activities and experiences over 10 days. STB also inked a partnership with global wellness platform ClassPass, onboarding more than 90 new wellness businesses across 167 locations.
To make wellness a key component of Singapore’s tourism offerings, STB launched an Expression-of-Interest (EOI) in November to develop a wellness attraction on the southern coast of Singapore.
STB also made strides to help the tourism sector become more sustainable. A destination sustainability strategy for the tourism sector was developed in 2022 in line with the Singapore Green Plan 2030 and our ambition to become a sustainable urban destination. Industry-specific roadmaps were developed for hotels and the MICE ecosystem, while the Tourism Sustainability Programme was launched to support tourism businesses in all stages of their sustainability journey.
STB expects the tourism sector to continue its growth momentum this year, on the back of increasing flight connectivity and capacity, and China’s gradual reopening. International visitor arrivals are expected to reach around 12 to 14 million visitors, bringing in approximately $18 to 21 billion in tourism receipts – around two-thirds to three-quarters of the levels in 2019.
In the meantime, STB will continue efforts to increase Singapore’s destination attractiveness. STB will support the development of new and refreshed offerings in 2023, such as Bird Paradise @ Mandai Wildlife Reserve, and new experiences in Orchard Road such as the Trifecta integrated sports facility.
To support tourism recovery, STB will front load $110 million of the $500 million set aside for Singapore’s tourism recovery to ramp up business and leisure events over these two years.
STB will continue to attract more high-quality MICE events, such as the Herbalife APAC Extravaganza 2023 and the 25th World Congress of Dermatology 2023. On the leisure events front, 2023 has already kicked off strongly with Art SG, Southeast Asia’s largest ever art fair as part of the Singapore Art Week, and Sail GP, which made its Asian debut last week. New events like the Olympic Esports Week and Professional Triathletes Organisation Asian Open will also take place in Singapore for the first time.
To increase Singapore’s mindshare, STB will ramp up the SingapoReimagine campaign in all our key markets through creative activations, content and partnerships. This will be augmented by the SingapoReimagine Marketing Programme (SMP) to help local tourism and lifestyle businesses promote Singapore while also raising their marketing capabilities.
To support the pace of recovery, STB will continue to help the tourism sector ramp up hiring. As of September 2022, the total tourism workforce is around 65,000 – about 78 per cent of 2019 levels. STB will continue to support manpower needs through the Tourism Careers Hub, which has placed more than 500 workers in the tourism sector since its launch in 2022 by providing career coaching, skills upgrading and job matching. STB will also continue to support digital transformation for the industry through Tcube, which has already helped more than 1,000 local tourism companies through its various programmes.
Vicky is the co-founder of TravelDailyNews Media Network where she is the Editor-in Chief. She is also responsible for the daily operation and the financial policy. She holds a Bachelor's degree in Tourism Business Administration from the Technical University of Athens and a Master in Business Administration (MBA) from the University of Wales. She has many years of both academic and industrial experience within the travel industry. She has written/edited numerous articles in various tourism magazines.