Singapore aims to cross pre-Covid levels of tourist arrivals from India this year: STB

Singapore is hoping to cross the pre-Covid level of tourist arrivals from India this year, with a strong focus on family, MICE and film tourism segment, a top official of the Singapore Tourism Board (STB) has said.
Singapore aims to cross pre-Covid levels of tourist arrivals from India this year: STB
Singapore aims to cross pre-Covid levels of tourist arrivals from India this year: STB

Mumbai | Singapore is hoping to cross the pre-Covid level of tourist arrivals from India this year, with a strong focus on family, MICE and film tourism segment, a top official of the Singapore Tourism Board (STB) has said.

In 2023, Singapore saw a footfall of 1.07 million visitors from India, which is 76 per cent of the pre-Covid era. During January-March, 2024 over 2,45,380 Indians have already visited Singapore, which is 81.8 per cent recovery from the pre-Covid period.

The 'Garden City' had received 2,99,990 Indian tourists during January-March 2019.

"It's not difficult to achieve (pre-Covid levels of tourist arrivals from India this year) with an increase in the number of Indian passports, the rise of the middle class and strong connectivity between both the countries," STB's regional director - India, Middle East, South Asia and Africa, Markus Tan told PTI over a telephonic conversation.

Singapore Tourism Board (STB) is also focusing on Meetings, Incentives, Conferences and Exhibitions or Events (MICE) and this year there are a lot of events lined up to interest business travellers.

"We are also looking at young adults, who are well travelled, and cruise passengers. We also see a huge potential in the cruise segment in India and last year 1,00,000 Indians boarded cruises from Singapore," he said.

To further attract this segment, STB is in talks with Disney Adventure ship to develop the first cruise product exclusively home ported from Singapore for at least 5 years, starting in 2025, he said.

"We are still in talks with Disney in this regard. It is for cruise products, that is packages, itineraries among others. We hope to launch our first product next year," he added.

In order to go back to the pre-Covid numbers from India, STB has stepped up its efforts with trade partners, media relations, campaigns, social media programmes and influencers, Tan said.

He said, with Bollywood being a great influencer in creating interest in destinations, STB is also in talks with many production houses for collaborations and co-partnerships to showcase Singapore to the Indian audience.

Some of the well known Bollywood movies that were fully or partially shot in Singapore are Krrish, Badrinath Ki Dulhaniya, Dear Zindagi, De Dana Dan among others.

There is also a strong connectivity between both the countries as 17 Indian cities are connected with Singapore via 286 weekly departures on 7 airlines, including Singapore Airlines, Scoot, Vistara, Indigo, Air India, Air India Express and Drukair, he said.

"With so many Indian cities (17) connected with Singapore, there will be a boost in Indian travellers visiting the Garden City in 2024," he added.

For Singapore, India is an important market ranking as the 5th largest source market after Indonesia (2.298 million visitors), China (1.363 million visitors), Malaysia (1.088 million visitors) and Australia (1.085 million visitors).

"India is our 5th largest source market and in terms of spending it is the 4th largest. Indian visitors spent on average SGD (Singapore Dollar) 1,412 per person in the first three quarters of 2023, a 23 per cent increase from 2019.

"Looking at the growth in the tourism sector in India, this year we hope that these rankings will continue," he added.

As global travel recovery continues, STB is optimistic about the overall tourism growth this year, Tan said adding, "We welcomed overall 13.6 million international travellers in 2023. We expect our international visitor arrivals to reach about 15-16 million, which will be around 78 per cent to 84 per cent of the pre-Covid (2019) levels."

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