India major contributor as Singapore visitor arrivals increases 12-fold



The largest group of visitors is from neighbours Indonesia at 282,000. Malaysia is third with 139,000 visiting Singapore by air, followed by Australia (125,000) and the Philippines (81,000). Together the top five account for over 56 percent of international visitors for the January to June period of this year.

The Singapore Tourism Board (STB) predicted in a statement that it expects international visitor arrivals to the city-state to reach as much as six million this year.  With the country reopening its borders in April to all vaccinated travellers, it received more than 1.5 million visitors for the first half of 2022.

While still very much shy of the 9.3 million tourists that come into Singapore during the first six months of pre-COVID 2019, it is 12 times more than it received for the corresponding period in 2021. Of the 1.5 million visitors, Indians represent the second highest nationality coming to Singapore during this six-month period with over 219,000 visiting the island.

The largest group of visitors is from neighbours Indonesia at 282,000. Malaysia is third with 139,000 visiting Singapore by air, followed by Australia (125,000) and the Philippines (81,000). Together the top five account for over 56 per cent of international visitors for the January to June period of this year.  With much of the world’s population now vaccinated and with global travel picking up, Singapore is receiving a significant share of visitor traffic.

This is because it was one of the first in the region to reopen its borders with no quarantine and is also perceived to be a safe destination having seen to have handled the coronavirus outbreak well.

READ ALSO  Sharjah Summer campaign returns to offer safe and unique experiences in Sharjah’s best hotels and tourist attractions

In terms of absolute year-on-year visitor growth, visitor arrivals from Indonesia expanded by 1,996 percent, India by 1,344 percent, and Malaysia by 2,000 percent.  This year, 84 percent of the 1.5 million visitors who arrived in the first six months came to Singapore after the border reopened to all vaccinated travellers in April.

For comparison, Singapore received 330,000 foreign visitors in the first six months of 2021, and in the same period of 2020, it received 2.74 million travellers, out of which 88 percent arrived in the pre-pandemic lockdown months of January and February that year. With the number of visitors to Singapore rising rapidly, Singapore’s Changi Airport has been kept busy.Recently the airport announced that it will reopen Terminal 4 from September 13 this year, the last of the terminals not yet operating after COVID-19 all but shut down the airport. 

This follows soon after the reopening of Terminal 2 in May. Terminal 4 has a capacity to handle 16 million passengers a year and airlines that will be moving there include Cathay Pacific, Korean Air, Air Asia, and Cebu Pacific.This is not surprising as passenger and aircraft traffic at Changi has been soaring in the last couple of months.  The airport handled an average of about 13,000 aircraft per month in the first three months of this year. In the months of April and May, 15,100 and 17,100 airplanes took off and landed at the airport. Last year, for the first five months of 2021, a monthly average of 7,800 commercial planes passed through Changi.

The number of passengers flowing through the airport has also markedly increased. In the three months between January and March 2022, before Singapore fully opened to all vaccinated travellers, a total of 2,563,000 passengers passed through Changi. The numbers for April and May are 1,930,000 and 2,470,000 respectively. By comparison, for the first five months of 2021, 773,000 went through the gates at Changi.

READ ALSO  South Africa to offer online visa facility for Indian tourists from next week

Also last week, Singapore Airlines (SIA) reported its operating statistics for the month of June, saying, “Robust demand for air travel during the mid-year holidays, coupled with the start of the summer travel season, has resulted in an exceptionally strong performance in June 2022.”  This is with the exception of countries like China, Japan, and Taiwan where travel restrictions remain in place.
The Singapore Airlines Group carried a total of 1,938,200 passengers in June 2022, a rise of 13.7 percent from May. Group passenger capacity (measured in available seat kilometers) in June 2022 was three percentage points higher than the month before and 36 percent higher compared a year ago. It is now at 64 percent of pre-pandemic levels.

The Group passenger load factor (PLF) reached a new pandemic high of 85.5 percent, an increase of 7.3 percentage points month-on-month and 69.4 percentage points year on year. This was on the back of SIA posting a monthly PLF of 87.8 percent, a record for the airline.

Earlier this month, the airline announced that it plans to progressively restore all its flights in India to pre-pandemic levels by the end of October.  SIA will gradually increase its flight frequency and operate 17 weekly services to Chennai, up from the current 10 flights per week. Kochi services will go up to 14 times weekly, up from the current seven flights per week. Bengaluru services will go up to 16 times weekly, up from the current seven flights per week. 

Stock market analysts are saying that SIA will surprise on the upside when it reports its financial results for the quarter ending June later this week.
With a strong pipeline of events in Singapore, SIA will continue to benefit from visitors flowing into the island. Among the events and attractions, the Singapore Tourism Board (STB) expects will bring in the crowds are the Formula 1 Grand Prix, the Bloomberg New Economy Forum, Hell’s Museum at Haw Par Villa, the Museum of Ice Cream, SkyHelix Sentosa, and the “Avatar: The Experience” at Gardens by the Bay. 

READ ALSO  China bans visitors from Belgium, India, UK, and Philippines, requires pre-flight testing for others

Despite the optimistic outlook, STB cautioned that “tourism flows will face some headwinds for the rest of the year because of the volatile global political and economic environment, as well as the evolving health situation.”
Keith Tan, Chief Executive, Singapore Tourism Board said, “The encouraging growth in visitor arrivals and tourism receipts signals strong pent-up demand, and underscores Singapore’s continued appeal as a vibrant and attractive destination for leisure and business travellers. While the pandemic is certainly not over yet, we are confident that Singapore’s very rich calendar of events, as well as new and refreshed tourism offerings, will continue to attract visitors for the rest of 2022 and beyond.