Singapore witnesses strong half-year growth in tourism

There was a strong first-half performance across all sectors in Singapore

SINGAPORE’S tourism sector continues to grow from strength to strength, with an increase of 32 per cent  in 2011 H1 tourism revenue to SGD11 billion ($8.7 billion), outpacing the growth in visitor arrivals which grew 15 per cent  to reach 6.4 million visitors drawn by the burgeoning range of premier attractions, hotels, and tourist amenities. 

Figures from the Singapore Tourism Board (STB) show that in the first half of this year 25,763 visitors arrived in Singapore from the UAE, an increase of 10.9 per cent over the first half of 2010. Meanwhile, the Middle East region saw a 4.8 per cent increase in visitors over the same period to reach an all time high of 69,226.

The Singapore Tourism Board reported that key H1 2011 tourism indicators accommodation, food and beverage, and sightseeing and entertainment – were all up significantly over H1 2010.  Accommodation was up 25 per cent, food and beverage was up 23 per cent, and sightseeing and entertainment, including gaming, was up 136 per cent.

The growth in regional visitors to Singapore comes as the island’s integrated resorts move toward fully opening their numerous facilities. Louis Vuitton recently unveiled its unique Island Maison concept at the Marina Bay Sands integrated resort, complementing the opening of the cutting-edge Avalon and Pangaea nightclubs.

Meanwhile, the Resorts World Sentosa integrated resort opened its Maritime Experiential Museum & Aquarium on October 15 with a replica of a ninth century Arabic dhow as one of the highlights of the museum. 

Airlines have begun to meet this increased demand through the introduction of new flights or services. Emirates Airlines has increased its flight capacity from 21 flights a week to 26, while Qatar Airways has doubled its capacity to Singapore from seven to 14 flights a week. Singapore Airlines has also completed the refurbishment of its planes that fly to Abu Dhabi and Dubai, offering a greatly improved product across its three cabin configuration.

In the next 12 months, the city-state’s transformation gather pace, with the opening of the 101 hectare Gardens by the Bay project which will offer plant-based edutainment, horticultural displays, garden craftsmanship and floral artistry – further strengthening Singapore’s claim to be the “City in a Garden.”

Meanwhile, at Universal Studios Singapore on Resorts World Sentosa another blockbuster ride will open on December 3 – the much-anticipated Transformers The Ride attraction, based on the popular box-office-hit movie series, and has joined 21 rides and shows already running at the park, which include the Jurassic Park Rapids Adventure, Shrek 4D Adventure, Revenge of the Mummy and Battlestar Galactica.

Other key projects slated in open in 2012 include the completion of Asia’s first River Safari and the much awaited new International Cruise Terminal (ICT), which will bring cruise visitors directly into the centre of Singapore.