Published on : Wednesday, June 17, 2015
There was a 40 per cent decline in Chinese outbound tourism in the second half of 2014. However the first half of 2015 is seeing a recovery by 20 per cent. The recovery is also being reflected in the hotel sector.
In the peak periods of Lunar New Year and the China Golden week, at the second half of 2014 there was a plunge of 20 per cent but this year things look more stabilized. There has been no decline or increase said Patrick Fiat, general manager of Royal Plaza on Scotts.
Singapore is now focused on strengthening visitor numbers from China and is concentrating on accelerating tourism.
Since tourists like to group their trips to Singapore with other Southeast Asian countries several incidents that took place last year brought about a decrease in the flow of Chinese tourists to the Southeast Asian countries. The tourism Law of China in October 2013 and the MH370 plane incident all brought anti Chinese demonstrations in Vietnam. In the last year Chinese tourism flow to the Singapore plumed by 44.5 per cent, 51.6 per cent, 45.2 per cent and 27.3 per cent respectively in the months from April to July. Last year the drop in Chinese tourism arrivals was felt by 24.1 per cent to 1.72 million.
But 2015 looks to be a better year as Singapore welcomed 663,078 visitors from January to April 2015, but compared to 2013 and 2014 same period 683,986 and 875,725 respectively visited Singapore .But things are on the road to recovery as there has been a lead from the second half of 2014.
The Chinese New Year in February also saw an increase in visitor numbers at 238,008 as compared to 203,600 in February 2014. Again in March the number fell to 130,811 this year, from 165,642 compared to the same time last year. The Singapore Tourism Board (STB), is skeptical and is saying that the numbers are rebounding again to 2014.
In May 2015 the STB announced extended validity of Multiple Journey Visas ( MJVs) issued to people from the People’s Republic of China for a length of 10 years at a maximum. This move was taken to increase the flow of Chinese tourists and visitors to Singapore. The STB and the Changi Airport Group (CAG) promoted tourism through ad campaigns to attract more Chinese tourists to Singapore. A $35 million two year tie up between STB and CAG is going to focus on bringing tourists from key markets which begins with China. CAG is organising many roadshows in China for second and third tier cities which have helped in promoting Singapore. Travel agents and Hotels have also joined in the promotion campaign by promoting Singapore to tourists as a monodestination tours, where tourists only visit Singapore and not other destinations like Malaysia and Thailand.
The recent change in policy predicts growth, felt the Robert McIntosh, executive director, CBRE Hotels, Asia Pacific. Singapore is a city with excellent infrastructure, efficient transport network, comprehensive business facilities and varied options in terms of accommodation. With the marketing campaigns and government efforts if arrival numbers go back to it was in 2013 then hotel occupancy will be lifted between 2 and 4 percentage points.
Summer holidays are a crucial period; July and August season is the one to look out for. This period will determine how the whole year will go for Singapore, feel travel experts.