Singapore's tourism sector is on track for another record setting year, going by its strong performance in the first half of 2007.
From January to June, it received a record high of 4.9 million visitor arrivals and an estimated $6.4 billion in tourism receipts - both figures surpassing performances in the first half of 2006.
"Compared to the same period in 2006, the first half of 2007 showed a strong 9.0 per cent growth in tourism receipts and a 5.2 per cent increase in visitor arrivals. We have also seen record high visitor arrivals for each month this year compared to the same month in previous years," said Mr Lim Neo Chian, Chief Executive and Deputy Chairman of the Singapore Tourism Board (STB), in a media release yesterday.
The STB has set an annual target of $13.6 billion in tourism receipts and 10.2 million in visitor arrivals for 2007. Even though the figures for the first half of 2007 are not at the half-way mark of the STB's annual targets, Mr Lim remains optimistic about the second half of the year.
"Barring any major catastrophe, 2007 will likely be another record-breaking year. If the industry continues to sustain the growth momentum, the Board is confident 2007 targets will be met.
"Historically, higher visitor arrivals are posted in the second half of the year when visitors travel to Singapore during peak travel months of July, August and December," said Mr Lim.
Visitor arrivals from India, the Philippines and Vietnam posted strong double digit growth as compared to the year before. India became Singapore 's third largest visitor generating market, after Indonesia and China, with a 15.1 per cent growth in arrivals for the first half of 2007.
The STB attributes the strong growth from the Indian market to "a series of branding and promotional campaigns which generated strong destination awareness and interest."
The hotel sector is also surging ahead for the first half of 2007. In the January to June 2007 period, the Average Room Rate (ARR) grew by 19.5 per cent to $192, while the Average Occupany Rate (AOR) reached 86 per cent - both record highs for the six-month period. In June 2007, the ARR crossed the S$200 mark for the first time to reach S$210.