Tourists ride trishaws in Singapore (Reuters)
Singapore: Singapore's international visitor arrivals rose 7.7 percent last year to a record 16.4 million, helped by more travellers from China, India and Indonesia, but the tourism board forecast a slower pace of growth for 2017.
Tourism receipts rose 13.9 percent to an all-time high of S$24.8 billion, the Singapore Tourism Board (STB) said, based on preliminary estimates. Arrivals last year accelerated from an increase of around 1 percent in 2015. The tourism figures exceeded the STB's forecast for 2016.
Visitors from China surged 36 percent to 2.86 million, while those from India rose 8 percent. Arrivals from Indonesia rose 6 percent to 2.89 million.
For 2017, the STB expects visitor arrivals of 16.4-16.7 million, a flat to 2 percent rise. It forecast tourism receipts to be in the range of S$25.1-S$25.8 billion, an increase of 1 to 4 percent.
The STB said global economic and political uncertainties would probably continue to persist, while there was increasing competition for tourists.
Singapore, which relies on tourism for about 4 percent of its economic output, has built a reputation for glitzy shopping malls, street food, casinos and the Formula One night race.
The city-state has also been increasingly courting tourists from smaller cities in key markets like China and India, as well as business travellers from new segments such as financial technology (fintech) companies.