Singapore has recorded the lowest arrival of international tourists. The tourists’ arrivals has plummeted to about 2,70,000 in the month of March. According to the tourism figures published by the Singapore Tourism Board (STB) on the Singapore Tourism Analytics Network, the number of tourists’ arrivals last month represents an 85 per cent year-on-year drop.
The previous drop of this magnitude was during the peak of the Sars, or severe acute respiratory syndrome, outbreak here in April and May 2003, when Singapore received 217,000 visitors and 191,000 visitors respectively. The tourists’ arrival figures for last month show that Indonesia was the top source of visitors with about 46,500 arrivals, followed by the United Kingdom with 20,600 and Australia with 18,700.
The arrivals from Singapore’s traditional top source market, China, were a dismal 1,500 amid travel restrictions on its citizens.
There are about 2.7 million tourists arrived in Singapore between January and March, a 43 per cent decrease compared with the same period last year.
Mr Poh Chi Chuan, executive director for digital transformation of Singapore Tourism Board told that last month’s decline in tourists’ arrival was expected, given Singapore’s various entry restrictions, including a ban on short-term visitors which came into effect on March 24, 2020.
The tourism industry in Sinagpore has been among the hardest hit by the outbreak of coronavirus, with travel now ground to a halt and attractions and entertainment venues forced to close during the Republic’s circuit breaker period, which has been extended to June 1.
The trade and Industry Minister Chan Chun Sing noted this profound impact in travel and tourism industry that the pandemic has had on the industry. He said he had participated in a special video conference meeting of ASEAN tourism ministers earlier in the day to discuss how to tackle the pandemic collectively and decisively.
The tourism recovery will require more than just tourism industry help schemes, he said, adding that Singapore had shared the need to work together on three issues during the meeting.
The first is elevating and harmonising health and hygiene standards for the tourism sector to boost confidence in the region.
Mr Chan said that ASEAN member countries should also build up their technological capabilities and common infrastructure in areas such as contact tracing and adoption of digital systems to facilitate travel.
He also cited that even as they are working together to deal with the crisis, they are also looking ahead to plan for post-pandemic recovery plans to restore ASEAN’s connectivity, tourism, normal business and social activities.