Singapore’s tally of visitors for this year is likely to be at the “higher end” of the 4 million to 6 million that the city-state’s authorities had mentioned in a forecast issued in July. That is according to Alvin Tan Shen Hui, Singapore’s Minister of State for Trade and Industry, and Culture, Community and Youth, in a speech he made on Wednesday.
“Singapore is on track with our visitor arrivals. We will likely end the year with 4 million to 6 million visitors – closer to the higher end of our forecasts,” he said. “We also expect our tourism receipts for 2022 to hit between SGD10 billion [US$7.0 billion] and SGD20 billion,” noted the minister.
“These figures are about 40 percent of our pre-pandemic numbers in 2019,” added the official, referring to the previous disruption linked to Covid-19 countermeasures, from which Singapore is emerging.
“By year end, we expect the number of flights in [Singapore] Changi Airport to recover to over 80 percent of pre-Covid levels,” he stated. “This puts us in a good position in our road to recovery next year.”
In 2019, the last full year of trading before the pandemic, Singapore received a record 19.1 million international visitors according to Singapore Tourism Board data. The largest-single cohort of visitors was people from mainland China, accounting for just over 3.6 million arrivals.
Mr Tan’s comments on the inbound tourism outlook for full-year 2022 were at the opening ceremony of ITB Asia 2022, a travel industry trade show at the Marina Bay Sands casino resort run by Las Vegas Sands Corp. The minister said the gathering was the largest trade exhibition in Singapore “in the last three years”.
Singapore is home to a duopoly of casino resorts. Aside from Marina Bay Sands, there is Resorts World Sentosa, operated by Genting Singapore Ltd.
Rob Goldstein, chairman and chief executive of Las Vegas Sands, had said on Wednesday during the group’s third-quarter earnings call, that following the relaxation of travel-related restrictions in Singapore, Marina Bay Sands saw an increase in customer numbers from “many” of its source markets.
He observed the property should “easily achieve” annual earnings before interest, taxation, depreciation and amortisation of US$2 billion “in the next couple of years”, to get back to its trading levels experienced before the pandemic.
The city-state has been one of the first jurisdictions in Asia to move to a living-with-Covid strategy, bolstered by a high local rate of vaccination.
A country report on Singapore issued in July by the International Monetary Fund (IMF) praised the city-state’s public-policy approach to the Covid-19 pandemic.
Singapore has been open to fully-vaccinated travellers since April 1. Singapore also removed, with effect from April 26, all Covid-19 test requirements for fully-vaccinated visitors.
Since late August, inbound travellers aged 13 or above – even if not fully vaccinated against Covid-19 – no longer need on arrival to undergo a seven-day ‘stay-at-home’ protocol and Covid-19 test prior to entry to the community.