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Tourism & Travel

The official population of Singapore is around 4.5 million but when the total number of annual of foreign visitors is taken into account the population size swells to almost 15 million.

The targets of the tourism industry for 2008 were 10.8 million foreign visitors (2007: 10.3 million) and a total hospitality generated revenue of S$15.5 billion (2007: S$13.8 billion). Although special evenst like Singapore's first ever Formula 1 Grand Prix on September 28, 2008 did attract new visitors to the country actual total 2008 visitor arrival numbers and total generated revenue fell short of the targets.

Development Singapore tourism industry:







Number foreign visitors

8.4 million

9.0 million

9.7 million

10.3 million

10.1 million

Revenue €

€4.9 billion


€6.15 billion


€7.4 billion

In 2007 the total visitor arrival number rose with 6.2% vs. 2006 and revenue increase with 6.8%. Although in 2008 total visitor arrivals declined with 1.94%, total revenue rose to S$14.8 billion (€7.4 billion), up 7.2%

Singapore has been promoting itself internationally as an attractive travel destination already for more than 2 decades with very positive results.

In January 2005 the minister for Trade and Industry announced the 2015 targets for the tourism industry:
- Number of foreign visitors: 17 million
- Total generated revenue: S$30 billion (€15 billion)
- Number of new jobs: 100,000

To support these goals the government has allocated a budget of S$2.0 billion (€1.0 billion) from the Tourism Development Fund to be used for marketing campaigns aimed at the realisation of these targets.

In 2007 the hotel occupancy rate was a healthy 87%, up from 85% in 2006. 2008 saw again a decline in the occupancy rate to 81%.

The average room rate increased to S$246.- (€123.-), up 21.8% vs the S$202.- (€101.-) of 2007. In 2006 the average room rate was still S$164.- (€82.-) per night and in 2005 it was only S$128.- (€64.-) per night. The sharp increase was due to some special events in 2008 like the Grand Prix but also unique conventions like the gathering of the IOC, determining the location of the first World Youth Olympics (also Singapore).

Total hotelroom revenue 2008 vs. 2007, 2006 and 2005:





S$2.1 billion

S$1.8 billion

S$1.5 billion

S$1.1 billion

€1.05 billion

€900 million


€550 million

The total hotelroom revenue in 2008 of S$2.1 billion (€.105 billion) was a growth of 16.7% vs 2007 which in turn showed an increase of 20% vs. 2006. This last year grew again with 36.4% vs. 2005. In the 4 years from 2005 to the end of 2008 total hotel revenue in Singapore almost doubled.

The Singapore hotel infrastructure has rooms on offer from prices as low as €25.- per night (e.g. in Geylang) until the absolute top in international luxury like the Raffles Hotel. The higher priced hotels can be found primarily around Orchard Road. Good quality 4-5 star hotels just outside the CBD area cost around S$250.- (€120.- => €75.- in 2005).

Singapore fulfils an important transit function for European, Japanese and American travellers who spend a few days in the country before going on. The largest group of foreign visitors however are the Indonesians. Asian visitors in general make up around 73% of all foreign arrivals.

Top 5 foreign visitors by nationality 2008 vs. 2007, 2006 and 2005 :


Number 2008 ‘000

Number 2007 ‘000

Number 2006 ‘000

% share of total

Number 2005 ‘000

2008 vs. 2007




































The number of Chinese visitors increased sharply again after 2005. In the first half of 2005 Singapore suffered from the after effects of the December 25, 2004 tsunami resulting in less Chinese visiting the country than in 2004 (880,000). In 2006 the Chinese had overcome their fear. Singapore does experience an increasing competition from Hong Kong and other, domestic, Chinese destinations when it comes to luring Chinese tourists. Japan, the UK and Korea are other important tourist generation countries, each contributing approximately 5% to the total of foreign visitors.

For a long time Singapore presented itself as a pure shopping paradise and used the “retail shopping experience” as a marketing strategy for attracting foreign visitors. The annually organized “Great Singapore Sale” is always a great success generating in total €2.5 billion to €3.0 billion for the city state.

When it comes to retail prices though Singapore is no longer the low price “paradise” it was in the 1980's. The retail infrastructure remains at a consistently high level but the large price differences for products like consumer electronics between Singapore and Europe are really something of the past.

Besides shopping Singapore boosts also an excellent night life with a large number of bars and restaurants of all different kinds, great show and entertainment opportunities, sport and relaxation centres and offers generally speaking a very child friendly environment.

Singapore has realized that it needed to develop other attractions besides shopping to maintain the growth of numbers of foreign visitors to the country. The government has developed several large scale projects like casino’s (“integrated resorts”), a Formula 1 Grand Prix race, events, trade shows and medical tourism. Interested consumers within all these different market segments are approached by means of special targeted marketing campaigns always with the full focus of the government to realize the targets of 2015.

Source statistics: Singapore Tourism Board