Mid East travellers boost Singapore tourism

The Singapore Tourism Board today announced the results of Singapore’s tourism performance for the Middle East at a special event in Dubai. Globally, the tourism sector generated an estimated USD 8.3 billion in tourism receipts (TR) in 2006, exceeding the target of USD 7.8 billion and posting a double digit growth of 14.5% over 2005 - a new record for Singapore.

For the Middle East, visitor arrivals increased by more than 10,000 - growth of about 16 percent - compared to 2005. In 2006, Singapore received more than 82,000 visitors from the region, breaking previous records.

The top five countries in the region in terms of visitor numbers were - in descending order - the United Arab Emirates, Saudi Arabia, Iran, Kuwait and Qatar.

‘We are delighted to see record-breaking growth coming from within the Middle East market in terms of visitor arrivals and look forward to welcoming even higher numbers of travellers for the MENA region in 2007,’ said Siew-Kheng Kang, Regional Director, South Asia, Middle East & Africa, Singapore Tourism Board.

‘Singapore offers a wealth of unique experiences for visitors from the Middle East, providing a diverse range of dining, travel and entertainment options, in addition to a fantastic climate year-round and a welcoming and friendly community,’ she added.

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All top ten markets for Singapore posted growth, with eight of them achieving record highs for their respective markets.

Major markets internationally were Indonesia (1,921,000 visitors), P R China (1,037,000 visitors), Australia (692,000 visitors), India (659,000 visitors) and Malaysia (634,000 visitors), accounting for about 51% of total visitor arrivals.

The hospitality industry also performed well. Based on the latest figures, the average occupancy rate (AOR) for the hotel sector reached 85% from January to December 2006, registering a growth of 1.4 percentage point over the same period in 2005.

The Average Room Rate (ARR) for 2006 was estimated to reach USD107, an increase of 19.6% over 2005. Hotel room revenue posted a double-digit growth of 21.2 during this period. These are record annual highs for Singapore’s hotel sector.

Singapore Tourism Board officials believe that a number of new attractions will continue to attract visitors throughout 2007.

Amongst these, Singapore’s largest shopping mall VivoCity is set to welcome fashion-conscious and fun-seeking shoppers from across the region. Offering over one million square feet of space, VivoCity is Singapore’s largest and most diverse retail and lifestyle destination.

Also, the much-loved Orchard Road will be unveiling a major upgrade, providing one of Asia’s finest shopping, dining and entertainment spots.

For those looking to take a full break, Singapore will shortly be opening Resorts World at Sentosa, a fully integrated resort.

‘Singapore will be launching a series of dedicated campaigns throughout the year to continue the ongoing growth of visitor numbers from the Middle East. In particular, we have an increased variety of material in Arabic to ensure that visitors will have access to the full range of Singapore experiences,’ said Ke-Wei Peh, Area Director for MEA Region, Singapore Tourism Board.
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