Singapore visitor arrivals, hotel revenues up in February as Indian travellers return

SINGAPORE’S international visitor arrivals picked up in February from a month ago as the city-state resumed reopening its borders after a pause due to the Omicron Covid-19 wave.

Around 67,760 visitors touched down in February, 18.5 per cent more than the 57,170 in the month prior, according to the latest Singapore Tourism Board (STB) figures.

The latest international visitor numbers are a jump from the 18,140 in the year before, but still far below the 1.69 million recorded in January 2020 before the Covid-19 pandemic disrupted international travel.

At the same time, hotel room revenues were largely stable on the month before. Takings came to S$100.8 million, against S$101.7 million in January. That’s up by 56.8 per cent on S$62.3 million in the year prior, though still well below the S$328.9 million recorded before the pandemic.

Revenue per available room came to S$116.86 in February, up from S$98.84 in January and S$66.09 in the year-ago period, while average occupancy climbed to 62.4 per cent, from 57.8 per cent in the month prior.

Occupancy was the highest in economy-tier hotels (71.7 per cent) and mid-tier hotels (66.4 per cent), but the rate was dragged down by the luxury (58.7 per cent) and upscale (51.2 per cent) segments.

Meanwhile, average room rates stood at S$187.42 in February, compared with S$170.88 the month before.

Calvin Li, head of transaction advisory services for JLL Hotels & Hospitality Asia-Pacific, noted that the uptick in international visitors could be due to the easing of restrictions in the origin countries.

He pointed to India, which removed its mandatory quarantine period and Covid-19 testing requirements at the airport from Feb 14.

India was in first place among source markets for travellers, sending some 15,570 of its ranks in February, up from 11,430 a month ago.

The majority of February’s travellers also arrived from nearby countries with quarantine-free Vaccinated Travel Lane arrangements with Singapore: Indonesia (6,870), Australia (4,550) and Malaysia (4,470).

China, which used to be the biggest source of arrivals pre-pandemic, ranked fifth among February’s travellers, sending just 3,820 visitors.

Wong Xian Yang, research head at Cushman & Wakefield, said that China’s zero-Covid policy may hamper the Singapore tourism sector’s recovery to pre-Covid levels, as outbound travel from China may remain limited.

The STB defines international visitors as people who spend less than a year in Singapore. It excludes returning residents and pass holders, Malaysians arriving by land, non-resident air and sea crew, and air transit passengers.