Singapore Tourism
Statistics 2019

An in-depth analysis of the latest tourism statistics for Singapore.

Last Updated: July 2019. Latest available data from May 2019.

Singapore tourism facts

  • A total of 18.5 million international visitors came to Singapore in 2018
  • Of those, 3.4 million visitors were from mainland China, the largest country of origin. (This represents 2.2% of the outbound Chinese tourism market).
  • International visitor spend totalled S$27.1 billion in Singapore in 2018 . (This shows a growth of 1% with declines in spending on shopping, accommodation, and food & beverage.)
  • 10.38 million Singapore tourists travelled outside of Singapore in 2018

How many tourists visit Singapore each year?

Total number of International Visitors came to Singapore (2008 - 2018)

Figure 1. Total number of International Visitors came to Singapore (2008 - 2018)

*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 2018, approximately 18.5 million international tourists visited Singapore. This represented a 6.22% increase on the numbers in 2017, when 17.4 million tourists visited Singapore.

In the Jan-May 2019 period, 7.8 million international tourists arrived in Singapore, up 1.49% on the same period in 2018.

Tourists spent a total of 61,635,213 visitor days in Singapore in 2018, making the average stay 3.33 days.

Singapore ranks 5th on Mastercard’s Global Destination Cities Index, behind Bangkok, London, Paris and Dubai.

The Global Top 10 Destination Cities

Rank

City

Total International Visitors

1

Bangkok

20.05 mn

2

London

19.83 mn

3

Paris

17.44 mn

4

Dubai

15.79 mn

5

Singapore

13.91 mn

6

New York

13.13 mn

7

Kuala Lumpur

12.58 mn

8

Tokyo

11.93 mn

9

Istanbul

10.70 mn

10

Seoul

9.54 mn

Arrivals by mode of transport

Of the total international arrivals 14.33 million arrived by air, up 5.78% on 2017; 2.06 million arrived by sea, up by 16.82%; and 2.12 million arrived by road, up 0.24% on 2017.

Arrivals by land by visitors from South Korea were up 22.93%, an increase in Korean visitors using Singapore as a base to explore peninsular Malaysia.

Cruise

Singapore’s cruise sector is performing very well, particularly attracting visitors from Greater China, up 75.57% on 2017, to 229,450. The largest market for arrivals by sea in actual numbers is Indonesia, at 968,736 (up 9.19%),  thanks in large part to ferry arrivals from the nearby Riau Islands.

In particular, cruise arrivals from India spiked 27% as more Indian travellers took up new cruise offerings such as Genting Dream and Royal Caribbean Cruises' Voyager of the Sea. 

Singapore is the world’s 20th busiest port by passenger numbers.

Changi Airport

Consistently ranked as the world’s best airport, Changi still retains the accolade it has held since 2013. In 2018 Changi is the world’s 19th busiest by passenger numbers.

The world's busiest airports 2018

Figure 2. The world's busiest airports 2018

International visitors by country

Where are the majority of Singapore’s tourists coming from?

Based on 2018 figures the top five countries people visit Singapore are from: China, Indonesia, India, Malaysia, and Australia. Visitor numbers from all these originating countries is up on 2017, with India showing the greatest increase at 13.4% with 1.44m visitors.

Arrivals from China, India, Philippines, UK, USA, Vietnam, and Germany hit record-high numbers in 2018.

China

The increase in tourist numbers from mainland China is reflective of the increase in outbound tourist numbers of 45.6% between 2013 and 2017, to 143 million.  Singapore saw an increase in arrivals from China of 39% in the same period.

Singapore is an attractive destination for tourists from China thanks to a large number of native Chinese speakers – 34.9% of Singaporeans speak Mandarin at home, while a further 12.2% speak other Chinese dialects. There is also increased flight connectivity between China and Singapore.

For India there was growth in visitor numbers due to strong travel demand and increased flight connectivity.

International Visitors Arrivals by Country

Figure 3. Arrivals by country

What do visitors to Singapore spend their money on?

Overall tourists’ spend rose 1.0% to S$27.1 billion, mainly due to growth in the number of visitor arrivals.

Tourist spending grew but was slowed by declines in spending on shopping (14%), accommodation (5%) and food & beverage (4%).

But there was increased spending on sightseeing, entertainment & gaming (6%) and other components (21%) – for example airfare revenue rose on the back of more visitor arrivals.

Tourism receipts (excluding sightseeing, entertainment and gaming) by country of origin reflect the number of visitors from each destination, with Chinese tourists topping the spending at S$3.9 billion.

From January to September 2018, India (18%), Indonesia (8%) and China (3%) posted the highest year-on-year absolute growth in tourism receipts excluding sightseeing, entertainment & gaming.

India led due to a higher spending on accommodation.

For Indonesia, the growth could be attributed to greater spend on airfare and transport.

International Visitors Spending by country of origin

Figure 4. Spending by country of origin

Proportionally of the top 10 originating destinations in 2018, Chinese tourists spent the most on shopping (47%); travellers from the US spent the most on accommodation (40%); Travellers from the Philippines spent the most on food and beverage (17%); while visitors from Indonesia spent the most ‘other tourism receipt components’ which includes airfare and other modes of transport such as ferries and crusies (47%).

International Visitors Spending by F&B, Shopping and Accommodation

Figure 5. Top 10 originating destinations F&B, accommodation and shopping spend

International visitors to Singapore by month

Peak season for arrival numbers in Singapore in 2018 was July and August, with 1.73 million and 1.68 million arrivals respectively, while November saw the lowest number of arrivals at 1.40 million.

International Visitors Arrivals by Months

Figure 6. Arrivals by month

Numbers of arrivals from different countries reflect the holiday periods in those countries, with Chinese arrivals in 2018 peaking in February (Chinese New Year was Feb 16) at 366,616. That figure was up 36.3% on the previous February because Chinese New Year fell in January in 2017. January arrivals from China were down 8.1%. July and August also saw peaks in arrivals from China (361,019 and 380,108 respectively) during school holiday periods.

Indonesian arrivals peaked in June (332,990) coinciding with the four-day Lebaran (Idul Fitri) holidays.

Indian visitors arrived in greatest numbers in May (196,072) coinciding with summer school holidays.

Likewise, arrivals from Europe peaked in August at 206,025, reflecting the traditional European holiday period.

Purpose of visit

Of the main incoming visitor countries, German visitors were the most likely to travel to Singapore for leisure (holiday and visiting friends/relatives) at 66%, while Thais were most likely to visit for Business (General purpose business and MICE) at 42%. Visitors from the Philippines were most likely to travel to Singapore to visit friends and relatives (25%).

Of particular note is the increase in the number of business travellers to Singapore. January to September 2018, tourism receipts from the Business Travel and Meetings, Incentive Travel, Conventions and Exhibitions (BTMICE) sector rose by 10 per cent to S$3.44 billion, compared to the same period in 2017. This was driven by the growth in BTMICE visitor arrivals, which rose 14 per cent year-on-year to hit 2 million .

Hotel occupancy

Between 2012 and 2018 Singapore added 71 new gazetted hotels, increasing available room-nights from 15.25 million to 21.21 million. Occupancy rates have stayed fairly flat – 85.7% in 2012 against 86.2% in 2018. The standard average room rate has dropped from S$243.50 to S$218.60 in 2018. Hotel room revenue in 2018 was S$3.998 billion.

Attractions

Newly-built attractions are proving particularly popular in Singapore.

Gardens by the Bay

This registers as the country’s top-rated attraction.

Opened in 2012, the 101-hectare nature park Gardens by the Bay saw 10.2 million visitors in its 2017/2018 financial year, 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.

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; 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 exceed 20 million annually.

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 see 4.4 million visitors annually.

Singapore Zoo

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 sees 1.9 million annual visitors.

Changi Airport

Singapore is unusual in that its airport is also an attraction. The S$1.7 billion Jewel Changi Airport opened in April 2019 with a preview for 500,000 pre-registered attendees and is likely to see more transit passengers clear immigration to see the world’s tallest indoor waterfall amongst other attractions.

Outbound tourism

Singapore saw an increase in outbound tourism of Singapore residents from 8.647 million in 2013 to 9.889 million in 2017 though travel expenditure has remained fairly static over that time, from US$24,383 million in 2013, to US$24,543 million in 2017.

Singaporeans lead the region in the number of trips taken per year, averaging 3.31 trips annually (in 2017).

Preferred destinations for Singaporeans are: Malaysia(47%), Japan (37%), Thailand (36%), Hong Kong (34), and Australia (31).

When planning to travel, 43% of Singaporeans cite budget considerations as the main reason for choosing their next travel destination.

The median spend for Singaporeans when travelling in 2017 was US$1,462, however it is predicted travellers will increase their overseas spend by 55%.

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. Singapore is ranked the world’s #26 by tourist arrivals.

Singapore is ranked #8 for international tourist Arrivals in the Asia Pacific region.

How much money does Singapore make from tourism?

International tourism accounted for 4.1% of Singapore’s national GDP in 2017, with a direct contribution of $17.7 billion. The percentage of tourism’s contribution to Singapore’s GDP is projected to rise to 4.4% in 2028.

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. Being a compact city-state, Singapore visitors stay for a relatively short duration, but its status as a transport hub means the number of international arrivals at 18.5 million dwarfs the resident population of 5.64 million.

Download Singapore Tourism Statistics 2019 Infographics

Find out more

Get the full picture and download Singapore Tourism Statistics 2019 Infographics


Citations:

[1] https://www.tablebuilder.singstat.gov.sg/publicfacing/createDataTable.action?refId=15301
[2] https://www.stb.gov.sg/content/stb/en/statistics-and-market-insights/tourism-statistics/international-visitorarrivals.html
[3] https://newsroom.mastercard.com/press-releases/big-cities-big-business-bangkok-london-and-paris-lead-the-way-in-mastercards-2018-global-destination-cities-index
[4] https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/List_of_busiest_cruise_ports_by_passengers
[5] https://edition.cnn.com/travel/article/worlds-busiest-airports-2018-preliminary/index.html
[6] https://www.singstat.gov.sg/-/media/files/publications/ghs/ghs2015/findings.pdf
[7] https://www.stb.gov.sg/content/dam/stb/documents/statistics-marketing-insights/Quarterly-Tourism-Performance-Report/STB%20Q4%202018%20Tourism%20Sector%20Performance%20Report_Final.pdf
[8] https://data.gov.sg/dataset/overseas-visitors-survey-visitors-profile-data-purpose-of-visit?view_id=bb793b17-9864-4612-bf82-ffa020e880e8&resource_id=9adcfe5f-9d97-4d6a-a557-bacce967cff9
[9] https://www.indexmundi.com/facts/indicators/ST.INT.ARVL/rankings
[10] https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/World_Tourism_rankings