An in-depth analysis of the latest tourism statistics for Singapore.
Last Updated: January, 2022. Latest available data from April 2021.
Singapore tourism facts
- Visitor arrivals fell by 85.7% in 2020 to just 2.7 million visitors and most of those arrived in the first 2 months of the year - before border closures began.
- Singapore recorded its highest ever number of visitor arrivals (19.12 million) in 2019, before the pandemic hit.
- International visitor spend totalled S$4.4 billion between January and September 2020, a 78.4% decline on the same period in 2019.
- Singapore saw a drastic fall in outbound tourism of Singapore residents from 10.7 million in 2019 to 1.54 million in 2020.
International visitor numbers to Singapore
Total number of International Visitors came to Singapore (2008 - 2020)
*International visitor arrivals numbers to Singapore exclude; Malaysian citizens arriving by land; returning Singapore citizens, permanent residents and pass holders; non-resident air and sea crew (except for sea crew flying in to join a ship); air transit and transfer passengers; and arrivals staying in Singapore for more than a year.
In 2020, approximately 2.74 million international tourists visited Singapore. This represented an 85.7% decline on the numbers in 2019, when 19.12 million tourists visited Singapore, largely as a result of travel restrictions and border closures to tackle the COVID-19 pandemic.
In line with the decline in visitor numbers, hotel revenues also declined in 2020. Total room revenues were SG$1.21 billion, down 71.2% on 2019.
The average room rate in 2020 fell 31.3% to SG$151.65, and average occupancy was 56.75%.
In January 2020, the final month before the pandemic affected travel, Singapore saw 1.69 million visitor arrivals, up 3.9% on the previous year.
April 2020 saw the lowest number of arrivals, at 750, with the announcement on April 9 that all passengers from all destinations would need to serve a 14-day self-isolation period at hotels that served as dedicated Stay-Home Notice facilities.
In the Jan-Mar 2021 period, there were 68,680 international arrivals, down 97.4% on the same period in 2020.
The average length of stay for the Jan-Mar 2021 period was 25.56 days, up 562% on the same period in 2020.
Arrivals by mode of transport
Of the total international arrivals in 2020, 2.11 million (77.1%) arrived by air, 390,860 (14.3%) arrived by sea, and 237,380 (8.7%) arrived by land.
Singapore’s cruise sector also took a hit, with passenger throughput (including Singaporean passengers) of 409,564 in 2020, down from 1,818,351 in 2019. There were 143 passenger ship calls in 2020, compared to 414 in 2019.
The generally more cautious approach to the pandemic of countries in Asia is clear in the decline in international passenger traffic, with Singapore seeing a 32.9% decline in the first quarter of 2020 compared with the same period in 2019.
The airports in North Asia in the top 20 by passenger numbers were even harder-hit, with traffic to Hong Kong down 56.4%, Taipei down 44.1% and Incheon down 42.6%.
The Global Top 10 Destination Cities
2019 vs 2018 % exchange
Q1 2020 vs Q1 2019 % change
DUBAI, AE (DXB)
LONDON, GB (LHR)
AMSTERDAM, NL (AMS)
HONG KONG, HK (HKG)
INCHEON, KR (ICN)
PARIS, FR (CDG)
SINGAPORE, SG (SIN)
FRANKFURT, DE (FRA)
BANGKOK, TH (BKK)
TAIPEI, TW (TPE)
MADRID, ES (MAD)
KUALA LUMPUR, MY (KUL)
LONDON, GB (LGW)
ISTANBUL, TR (IST)**
DOHA, QA (DOH)
BARCELONA, ES (BCN)
MUNICH, DE (MUC)
TOKYO, JP (NRT)
NEW YORK NY, US (JFK)
DUBLIN, IE (DUB)
86 328 896
76 043 973
71 679 691
71 287 552
70 578 050
69 823 084
67 601 000
63 067 739
52 933 565
48 460 290
44 917 756
44 854 685
43 123 851
39 434 579
38 786 566
38 630 785
38 309 112
36 645 448
34 317 281
32 572 741
17 818 048
13 734 502
12 270 068
8 158 000
10 212 882
11 961 645
10 919 000
9 914 790
9 303 661
6 699 130
7 974 672
7 604 466
6 840 334
9 127 504
8 329 575
5 700 031
5 956 206
5 917 995
5 964 876
5 204 663
International visitors by country
Where have the majority of Singapore’s visitors been coming from during the pandemic?
Based on January to September 2020 figures, the top 10 countries people visiting Singapore arrive from are: Indonesia, mainland China, Australia, India, Malaysia, the UK, Japan, the USA, Germany, and the Philippines. The greatest decrease in numbers of that top 10 were China, down 88% at 342,459, and the lowest decrease was from Germany, down 66% at 95,156.
The decrease in tourist numbers from mainland China is reflective of caution about travellers from China at the start of the pandemic. Travellers who had visited mainland China in the previous 14 days were banned from transiting through or entering Singapore from February 1, 2020.
Tourism receipts during the pandemic
Overall Tourism receipts from January to September 2020 totalled 4.4 billion, a 78.4% decline over the same period in 2019.
Visitors from mainland China (S$537 million), Indonesia (S$496 million) and India (S$278 million) were the top three generating tourism receipts between January and September 2020. (Excluding expenditure on sightseeing, entertainment and gaming).
Shopping saw the greatest decline in tourist spending, down 84% for the period. Declines were in line with visitor arrivals, with the first quarter shopping revenues at S$656, while the second quarter recorded only S$6 million, and the third quarter S$10 million.
Sightseeing, entertainment and gaming revenues saw the greatest quarter-on-quarter decline, recording S$858 million in the first quarter and a mere S$5 million in the second. Its third quarter recovery was also the greatest over the second quarter, with S$46 million in revenues.
For the first three quarters of 2020 tourism revenues were: S$672 million for shopping; S$907 million for accommodation; S$412 million for food and beverage; S$909 million for sightseeing, entertainment and gaming; and S$1.53 billion for other tourism receipts.
Spending by country of origin
Proportionally of the top 10 originating destinations in the first three quarters of 2020, Chinese tourists spent the most on shopping (36%); travellers from the US spent the most on accommodation (36%); travellers from the US spent the most on food and beverage (16%); while visitors from Indonesia spent the most ‘other tourism receipt components’ which includes airfare and other modes of transport such as ferries and cruises (55%).
International visitors to Singapore by month
Prior to the pandemic Changi Airport was seeing more than 430 flights from mainland China per week. January 2020, which was largely unaffected by pandemic restrictions, saw 1.69 million arrivals, including 413,390 from greater China, and 282,140 from Indonesia.
Arrivals fell to 732,970 in February 2020, 240,000 in March, and 750 in April.
Domestic tourism in Singapore
To prop up the tourism sector in Singapore, the Government launched a $45 million SingapoRediscovers campaign in July, 2020, to drive local spending in lifestyle and tourism businesses amid a dearth of tourists here.
Not surprisingly, the following Singapore iconic attractions have proven popular among locals.
Here we include their annual visitor numbers pre-COVID 19.
Gardens by the Bay
Opened in 2012, the 101-hectare nature park Gardens by the Bay saw 10.2 million visitors annually pre Covid, with the main attractions being the Cloud Forest and Flower Dome conservatories, and the Supertree Grove. The latter is a collection of 18 concrete and steel structures between 25 and 50 metres tall, some of which serve as air exhausts for the cooled conservatories. The trees serve environmental functions such as harvesting solar energy, and the trees’ surfaces are planted with 158,000 plants of 700 species. A 128 metre walkway 22 metres above the ground allows visitors to take in the views.
This registered as the country’s top-rated attraction.
Marina Bay Sands
This is one of the iconic buildings of the Singapore skyline. The ‘integrated resort’ features 2,600 hotel rooms in three 55-storey towers, with a whopping 96.7% occupancy rate pre-pandemic; the popular Sands Sky Park across the top of the three towers, with a 150-metre infinity pool, restaurants and a viewing platform; The Shoppes at Marina Bay Sands, a 606,362 square foot (leasable area) retail mall; 1.2 million square feet of convention and meeting space; a theatre; and gaming facilities including 625 table games and 2,360 slot machines. MBS, as it is known, opened in 2010, and contributed US$3.069 billion in net revenues to its parent company Las Vegas Sands Corp in 2018.
Resorts World Sentosa
Singapore’s other, more family friendly, ‘integrated resort’. The 49-hectare property is home to attractions including Universal Studios Singapore, S.E.A. Aquarium the Maritime Experiential Museum, Dolphin Island and Adventure Cove Waterpark. The resort houses six hotels, a convention centre and a casino. Visitor numbers exceeded 20 million annually, pre-pandemic.
Singapore Botanical Gardens
Established in 1859, and inscribed as Singapore’s first UNESCO World Heritage Site in 2015, the 74-hectare Singapore Botanical Gardens are also a major tourist attraction. Home to the National Orchid Gardens with 450 species on display, the Botanical Gardens would normally see 4.4 million visitors annually.
Another popular attraction, covering 26 hectares of tropical rainforest, with an open concept zoological garden. Home to 2,400 animals of 300 different species, Singapore zoo would receive 1.9 million annual visitors before the pandemic hit.
Singapore is unusual in that its airport is also an attraction. The S$1.7 billion Jewel Changi Airport opened in April 2019 and houses the world’s tallest indoor waterfall amongst other attractions.
Singapore saw a decrease in outbound tourism of Singapore residents from 10.7 million in 2019 to 1.54 million in 2020.
Given this drastic fall in numbers, finding trends is a fruitless exercise. However, based on a Tripadvisor Consumer Sentiment Survey of 2,330 consumers in the US, UK, Australia, Italy, Singapore and Japan, conducted between December 2020 and January 2021 in partnership with Qualtrics, we can have some idea what potential travellers have in mind for the future.
Of the respondents, 47% were planning to travel internationally in 2021, while 80% of Singaporean respondents said they were spending more time choosing their next destination as a result of the pandemic.
Singapore vs Global
Singapore’s strategic location in the middle of South-East Asia and its efficient and popular airport make it an easy destination for travellers from around the globe. Before the pandemic Singapore was ranked the world’s #26 by tourist arrivals and #8 for international tourist Arrivals in the Asia Pacific region.
Predicting what will happen post-pandemic is a fraught occupation, though research may provide some clues. According to a survey of Chinese travellers conducted by Ivy Alliance Tourism Consulting, China Comfort Travel Group, and Pacific Association, health and safety assurance is the main concern for aspiring travellers.
For international destinations – of which Singapore was listed as the fifth most desirable after Japan, Thailand, Europe, and the Maldives – arguably the destination’s response to the pandemic, vaccination rates, and limits on restrictions for inbound tourism will affect travel decisions.
Singapore’s initial response was better than Europe’s and Japan’s for case rates, and better than all but Thailand for death rates, and at the time of writing Singapore has fully vaccinated more of the population than any of these destinations.
On the travel restrictions, Singapore is negotiating bi-laterally with other countries to open so-called travel bubbles, though again, the situation remains fluid.
What are Singapore’s traditional incoming markets, and how will that change post Covid?
In 2019, the last full year unaffected by pandemic restrictions, Singapore received 19.12 million visitors, up 3.3% on the previous year.
The top ten countries of origin for those visitors in 2019 were:
Country of origin
Number of visitors 2019
Increase on 2018
In 2019 total tourism receipts were S$27.69 billion, up from S$26.94 billion in 2018.
Assuming the recovery in tourism will start in line with vaccination rates, arrivals from the US and the UK are likely to be amongst the first to return. Given the 2019 growth rate in visitors from the US, high vaccination rates there, the potential for pent-up demand, and the poor pandemic performance from neighbouring countries limiting choice, the likelihood of the US being the main incoming market in the short term is quite high.
The return of tourists from South Korea, Japan and Australia is likely to follow around the end of 2021, and other markets from 2022 onwards, but the recovery is likely to be slow. IATA predicts a return to 2019 levels of passenger numbers in “around 2024"
Summary of Singapore tourism facts
Singapore’s location in the centre of South-East Asia, its well-developed tourism industry, its mix of cultures, its safety, and its efficient airport make it an attractive travel destination. These factors, and Singapore’s efficient and pragmatic pandemic response, indicate its tourism industry will bounce back faster than neighbouring destinations.
Find out more
Get the full picture and download Singapore Tourism Statistics 2019 Infographics
Data on this website was sourced in May 2019 with the latest available data from April 2021. Auto & General Insurance (Singapore) Pte. Limited does not guarantee the accuracy or completeness of the data and accepts no liability whatsoever arising from or connected in any way to the use or reliance upon this data.