Singapore Reduces 2015 Visitors Arrival Target to 15.5 Million

Singapore reduced its forecast for foreign visitor arrivals and tourism receipts this year, citing competition from rival destinations.

The city-state forecasts 15.1 million to 15.5 million visitor arrivals and expects S$23.5 billion (US$17.2 billion) to S$24 billion in tourism receipts in 2015, Second Trade Minister S. Iswaran told parliament on Friday. The Singapore Tourism Board earlier had targeted 17 million visitor arrivals and S$30 billion in tourism receipts this year, according to the agency’s website.

“Competition from regional destinations is intensifying,” said Iswaran, who’s responsible for developing the tourism industry. “Further, the impact of the tight labor market has been keenly felt by our hospitality sector.”

Travel and tourism accounted for 5.3 percent of Singapore’s gross domestic product in 2013, according to the World Travel & Tourism Council.

Singapore’s revised tourism target comes as the country in February reported its first decline in visitor arrivals since the global financial crisis. Visitors to the tropical island nation fell 3.1 percent to 15.1 million in 2014, the first drop since 2009.

The number of Indonesian visitors, who made up the biggest group of arrivals last year, fell 2 percent to 3 million as the rupiah depreciated. Numbers from Malaysia, Australia, Japan and the Philippines also fell.

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