Customer arrivals to Singapore plummet more than 80% in 2020, expected to remain weak amid COVID-19: STB

SINGAPORE: Singapore’s tourism sector expert its “toughest year on record” in 2020 because of to unprecedented international travel limitations and border closures amid the COVID-19 pandemic, explained the Singapore Tourism Board (STB) on Monday (Feb 1).

Customer arrivals plummeted 85.7 for each cent to 2.7 million, down from 19.1 million the yr in advance of, according to official facts. Approximately all of these arrivals had been in the very first two months of 2020, stated STB.

Tourism receipts also fell 78.4 per cent to S$4.4 billion in the initially a few quarters of 2020, the tourism board extra. The place recorded pretty much S$27.7 billion in receipts for the entire of 2019.

Even with the enhancement of quite a few COVID-19 vaccines, it will consider time for mass leisure travel and traveller self esteem to return, claimed STB, including that tourism arrivals and receipts are anticipated to continue being “weak” this 12 months.

“Singapore’s tourism sector has had to combat for survival in 2020. Our tourism businesses have exhibited immense resilience and adaptability during this complicated interval, reinventing their business enterprise models and leveraging engineering to find alternatives in a COVID-19 globe,” reported STB chief executive Keith Tan.

Read through: The Significant Read – A vital financial pillar, S’pore’s tourism sector faces a brutal test of mettle amid COVID-19 fallout

He added that he was grateful for the motivation by tourism businesses to preserve Singaporeans protected and well.

The agency remains confident in Singapore’s place as “a single of the world’s safest and most desirable leisure and enterprise” destinations, as effectively as the extended-time period prospective buyers of the country’s tourism sector, explained Mr Tan.

He additional: “While mass international journey is not likely to resume in a important way in 2021, STB will proceed standing together with our market associates to prepare for recovery and to start out setting up a much better and a lot more sustainable long term for tourism.”


Tourism corporations played a essential job in Singapore’s fight in opposition to COVID-19, the tourism board highlighted in a media launch.

Accommodations offered their houses for authorities quarantine, swab isolation and remain-property recognize dedicated services, serving far more than 80,000 people today on continue to be-house discover with the aid of more than 2,300 frontline hospitality staff as of the finish of past 12 months, mentioned STB.

“The Singapore Hotel Affiliation is privileged to contribute to the exceptional collaboration between community and personal sectors. It was inspiring to see how everyone banded alongside one another during the most existential disaster of our life time,” claimed the association’s president Kwee Wei-lin.

The integrated resorts also contributed, with personnel customers serving at neighborhood care facilities, wherever they managed operations, provided meals and packed treatment kits.

Marina Bay Sands donated about 15,000kg of food and packed 15,000 care kits for migrant staff and small-income households afflicted by the pandemic.

The cruise marketplace delivered lodging for much more than 8,200 migrant workers who had recovered from COVID-19, with additional than 600 cruise marketplace staff concerned in the procedure between April and September final year, explained STB.

Read through: Inside the Celebrity Gemini cruise ship for foreign workers who’ve recovered from COVID-19

Study: Recovered from COVID-19, migrant staff live on a cruise ship and in an HDB flat

Tour guides also stepped up as secure distancing ambassadors, with about 150 guides serving in this potential at tourism precincts and institutions given that April past yr. STB mentioned it expects to grow this selection to additional than 250 secure distancing ambassadors in the coming months.


The agency’s report card also recounted how the tourism sector navigated the obstacle of reopening properly after Singapore exited its “circuit breaker” in June previous yr.

A overall of 45 tourist attractions, 270 motels and 1,686 tour itineraries have gained approval to resume functions as of Jan 25, it claimed.

Examine: Singapore desires to handle pitfalls, not eradicate them, in reopening for travel – Chan Chun Sing

Singapore also piloted cruises with increased security protocols and no ports of call from November final year, establishing a required audit and certification programme for cruise lines to resume sailing.

Additional than 42,000 passengers established sail on 33 cruises with no claimed transmission of COVID-19 on board as of the close of 2020, claimed STB.

A lot more than 1,390 SG Thoroughly clean certificates, which implies that a organization adheres to a superior degree of environmental general public hygiene, have been awarded to tourism-related premises.

Examine: Digital venues and virtual booths – How hybrid MICE situations can be piloted

Piloting meetings, incentives, conventions and exhibitions (MICE) gatherings was section of the sector’s reopening as well. The country has held 29 MICE function pilots as of the close of last year, setting up with the Singapore Intercontinental Vitality 7 days at the finish of October, claimed STB.

Singapore also made tests protocols for foreign delegates and other readers arriving for occasions, this sort of as TravelRevive and the 1 Championship functions, to safeguard general public health, said the board.


As of Jan 1, much more than 300,000 Singaporeans have made use of SingapoRediscovers vouchers to make bookings, expending S$35.9 million in redemptions and out-of-pocket payments since the start in December previous calendar year.

Read through: Commentary – What the Singapore tourism vouchers are really about

These initiatives to revive tourism have assisted associates of the Singapore Lodge Association to defend work opportunities and upskill the hotel workforce when the sector prepares for the gradual return of international travellers, explained Ms Kwee.

The Modern society of Vacationer Guides Singapore has viewed “encouraging” demand from customers from residents for domestic excursions pursuing the start of the voucher plan, stated the society’s chairman Jean Wang.

“We glimpse forward to continuing our contributions towards our national COVID-19 efforts, and to sharing extra stories of Singapore’s prosperous heritage with locals,” she explained.

To be certain that Singapore remains “top of mind” even when global vacation is curtailed, STB’s regional places of work have also released initiatives which include digital written content and on-line and offline functions to strengthen the country’s brand name image close to the entire world, the agency extra.

View: COVID-19 border closures effect Singapore healthcare tourism sector

“Keeping the Singapore destination attractiveness contemporary and energised through these quite challenging moments has been our best precedence,” stated Association of Singapore Attractions chairman Kevin Cheong.

“STB and our associates have also worked very carefully to assure ‘play’ is not only pleasurable, but safe for our friends and staff. We are all in the tourism frontline and should proceed to continue to be vigilant in the yr in advance.”


Turning to business transformation in the article-pandemic planet, STB explained that the Government’s Tourism Restoration Motion Undertaking Pressure, formed in February very last yr, has aided to establish chances arising from COVID-19, put into action measures to co-produce recovery plans with corporations and instil assurance in the country’s tourism sector.

The Alliance for Motion on Enabling Harmless and Revolutionary Customer Experiences below the Emerging Much better Taskforce also pioneered new methods to aid visitor experiences in a COVID-19 environment and introduced COVID-19 insurance policy protection for visitors’ “added peace of mind”, said STB.

In the MICE sector, the Singapore Association of Convention and Exhibition Organisers and Suppliers (SACEOS) labored with STB and Business Singapore to launch the Function Business Resilience Roadmap.

Read: Safety rules, tips on hybrid design aspect of new resilience roadmap for MICE and functions sector

“2020 has been a yr of disruptive improve. It has led to the industry pivoting to hybrid function platforms and reskilling to adapt and continue being pertinent,” claimed Mr Aloysius Arlando, president of SACEOS.

The resort market continued to upskill employees, with the amount of trainees funded below the Education Business Pros in Tourism plan a lot more than doubling last year.

“This is testomony to our tourism businesses’ commitment to upskill staff to long run-evidence their workforce,” stated STB.

Hotels which includes Grand Hyatt Singapore, Parkroyal on Kitchener Highway and Raffles Hotel also skilled personnel in new expertise that allowed them to be redeployed to other locations outside the house of their specialisations, alleviating manpower issues while delivering work expansion alternatives, included the agency.

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STB also highlighted the funding programmes and details resources it formulated to assist tourism organizations with transformation, together with a partnership to assist marketing efforts, the Business Improvement Fund, its Tourism Transformation Index and the Singapore Tourism Analytics Community.

Tourism personnel and companies have benefited from financial-huge measures, like rental waivers, house tax rebates and temporary bridging financial loans, to help careers and livelihoods impacted by COVID-19, claimed STB.

Very last 12 months, more than 7,000 tourism businesses received help via the Career Support Plan to keep area employees. As of the end of 2020, 57 grant purposes to defray 3rd-social gathering expert cleaning charges by tourism-similar establishments impacted by COVID-19 situations had been also accepted.

“In 2021, STB will go on to support good quality tourism organizations to maintain critical abilities and develop new kinds, and to innovate in purchase to meet evolving purchaser demands and rising journey tendencies once cross-border vacation resumes in a considerable way,” reported the board.

“STB will also continue to guidance nearby employment and produce alternatives for the field to thrive in the new natural environment by encouraging domestic advocacy and constructing domestic desire.”

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