Tourism in Singapore

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The historic Raffles Hotel is a national monument

Tourism in Singapore is a major industry and contributor to the Singaporean economy, attracting 13,171,303 tourists in 2011, over twice Singapore's total population.[1] It is also environmentally friendly, and maintains natural and heritage conservation programs. Along with this, it also has one of the world's lowest crime rates. As English is the dominant one of its four official languages, it is generally easier for tourists to understand when speaking to the local population of the country, for example, when shopping. Transport in Singapore exhaustively covers most, if not all public venues in Singapore, which increases convenience for tourists. This includes the well-known Mass Rapid Transit (MRT) system.

The Orchard Road district, which is dominated by multi-storey shopping centres and hotels, can be considered the center of tourism in Singapore. Other popular tourist attractions include the Singapore Zoo and Night Safari, which allows people to explore Asian, African and American habitats at night without any visible barriers between guests and the wild animals. The Singapore Zoo has embraced the 'open zoo' concept whereby animals are kept in enclosures, separated from visitors by hidden dry or wet moats, instead of caging the animals.

Jurong Bird Park is another zoological garden centred on birds, which is dedicated towards exposing the public to as much species and varieties of birds from around the world as possible, including a flock of one thousand flamingos. The tourist island of Sentosa, which attracts 19 million visitors in 2011, is located in the south of Singapore, consists of about 20–30 landmarks, such as Fort Siloso, which was built as a fortress to defend against the Japanese during World War II.

Guns from the World War II era can be seen at Fort Siloso, from a mini-sized to a 16 pound (7 kg) gun. Moreover, the island has built the Tiger Sky Tower, which allows visitors to view the whole of Sentosa, as well as the Sentosa Luge, a small one- or two-person sled on which one sleighs supine and feet-first. Steering is done by shifting the weight or pulling straps attached to the sled's runners. Singapore has two integrated resorts which house casinos, namely Marina Bay Sands and Resorts World Sentosa.

Tourism statistics[edit]

Singapore Ducktours (part of RATP Group)

Singapore attracted a record 11,638,663 visitors according to the Singapore Tourism Board's statistics, but which excludes Malaysian visitors who visited Singapore via the Causeway or the Second Link. This was a 20.2% increase over 2009, reversing two years of negative growth due to the global financial crisis of 2008–2009.

Total visitor days was a record 44.9 million days, a growth of 17.1%, or an average of 3.86 days per visitor. 22.3% of visitors were day-trippers (less than one day), 19.7% stayed for one day, 17.6% stayed for two days, 14.7% for three days, and the rest for 4 days and above. 76.0% of visitors arrived by air, 10.9% by sea, and 13.2% by land. The largest age group of visitors was from 25 to 34 years old at 22.7% of visitors, followed by 21.8% for those aged 35–44 and 17.9% for those from 45 to 54 years old.

Over half (53%) of visitors came from the five biggest markets, mainly Indonesia (2,305,149), People's Republic of China (1,171,337), Malaysia (1,036,918), Australia (880,486) and India (828,903). Other major markets include the Philippines (544,344), Japan (528,817), the United Kingdom (461,714), Thailand (430,022) and the United States of America (416,990).

Tourism receipts was estimated to reach S$18.8 billion in 2010, a growth of 49% compared to 2009, with Shopping and Sightseeing/Entertainment accounting for 21% of total expenditure each, Accommodation making up 19%, and Food and Beverage another 10%. Medical receipts, representing the medical-tourism industry the country was trying to promoted, contributed 5%. In particular, Sightseeing/Entertainment, which included expenditure at the two new Integrated Resorts, grew by 1,834%.

Gazetted hotel room revenue was estimated at S$1.9 billion, an increase of 21.8% over 2009. The overall average occupancy rate was at 86%, 9.8% more than 2009, with the Economy tier seeing the largest increase of 15.6%. Overall average room rate was at S$212, an increase of 12.2%, while the overall revenue per available room was S$182, an increase of 26.6% over 2009.

General trends[edit]

Year Tourism Arrivals [1] Percentage change from previous period
1965 99,000  
1970 579,000 488.1%
1975 1,324,000 128.6%
1980 2,562,000 92.%
1985 3,031,000 18.3%
1990 5,323,000 75.6%
1995 7,137,000 34.1%
2000 7,691,399 7.76%
2005 8,943,029 16.27%
2010 11,638,663 30.14%

Recent years[edit]

Year Tourism Arrivals [1] Percentage change from previous year
1997 7,197,871 −1.30
1998 6,242,152 −13.28%
1999 6,958,201 11.47%
2000 7,691,399 10.54%
2001 7,522,163 −2.20%
2002 7,567,110 0.60%
2003 6,127,291 −19.04%
2004 8,328,720 35.92%
2005 8,943,029 7.4%
2006 9,751,141 9.0%
2007 10,284,545 5.5%
2008 10,116,054 −1.6%
2009 9,345,054 −4.3%
2010 11,641,700 20.2%
2011 13,171,303 13.1%
2012 14,496,091 10.1%
2013 15,567,923 7.4%

Top markets 2000–2013[edit]

Source: Singapore Tourism Board[2]

Country or territory 2000 2001 2002 2003 2004 2005 2006 2007 2008 2009 2010 2011 2012 2013
 Indonesia 1,313,316 1,364,380 1,393,020 1,341,747 1,765,324 1,813,569 1,922,217 1,962,055 1,765,429 1,745,330 2,305,149 2,592,222 2,837,537 3,088,859
 China 434,336 497,398 670,099 568,510 880,259 857,814 1,037,201 1,113,956 1,078,742 936,747 1,171,337 1,577,522 2,034,177 2,269,870
 Malaysia[3] 564,750 578,719 548,659 439,437 537,336 577,987 634,303 645,774 647,480 764,309 1,036,918 1,140,935 1,231,686 1,280,942
 Australia 510,347 550,681 538,408 392,906 561,163 620,255 691,632 768,490 833,156 830,299 880,486 956,039 1,050,373 1,125,179
 India 346,360 339,828 375,697 309,487 471,244 583,590 658,902 748,728 778,303 725,624 828,903 868,991 894,993 933,553
 Japan 929,895 755,766 723,431 434,087 598,840 588,535 594,406 594,514 571,040 489,987 528,817 656,417 757,116 832,845
 Philippines 181,032 190,630 195,564 176,585 245,918 319,971 386,119 418,775 418,938 432,072 544,344 677,723 656,804 687,794
 Hong Kong 285,975 276,157 265,970 226,260 271,691 313,831 291,474 302,110 278,115 294,420 387,552 464,375 472,167 539,810
 Thailand 246,750 260,958 263,866 235,826 341,989 379,040 356,367 353,416 333,905 317,905 430,022 472,708 477,654 497,409
 United States 385,585 343,805 327,648 250,678 333,156 371,440 399,786 408,885 396,631 370,704 416,990 440,576 477,213 491,946
 South Korea 354,353 359,083 371,050 261,403 361,083 364,206 454,722 464,292 423,018 271,987 360,673 414,879 445,184 471,768
 United Kingdom 444,976 460,018 458,528 387,982 457,262 467,154 488,167 495,693 492,933 469,756 461,714 442,611 446,497 461,459
 Vietnam 31,837 34,633 40,652 44,420 105,803 150,626 165,105 203,210 239,299 265,414 322,853 332,231 366,234 380,495
 Taiwan 290,904 222,087 209,321 144,942 182,443 213,959 219,463 208,156 175,924 156,761 191,173 238,488 282,203 350,308
 Germany 169,408 166,981 157,510 121,376 142,371 154,779 161,125 164,900 175,280 183,681 209,231 219,952 252,433 251,560

Sightseeing Bus fleet[edit]

  • 20 DAF DB250LF / Plaxton President (DLP201-214, 216, 218, 222, 225, 227, 230)
  • 7 Volvo B7L / Ayats Bravo City (VLY601-607)
  • 3 Volvo B5TL / Ayats Bravo City (VLY821-823)
  • 43 Volvo B9TL / Optare Visionaire (VLE651-677, VXE721-736)

Sightseeing Bus Routes[edit]

Route Number & Colour Route Name Places served Duration of service (approx.) Other notes
670 The Loop Line ITE College South, Bugis MRT Station, North Bridge Commercial Complex, City Hall, Boat Quay, Chinatown, Clarke Quay, Liang Court, Hotel Miramar, Zion Food Centre, Botanic Gardens, Orchard Road, City Hall, Suntec City 62 minutes
Chinatown Tour Resorts World Sentosa, Shenton Way, Anson Road, Cecil Street, Raffles Place, Victoria Concert Hall, Raffles Hotel, Kampong Glam, V Hotel Lavender (ELD Training Centre) 40 minutes Two-way service
Heritage Corridor Suntec Hub, Marina Bay Sands, Victoria Concert Hall, Bugis, Fu Lu Shou Complex, Mustafa Centre, Kallang Bahru 40-45 minutes
The Original Tour Singapore Flyer, Ritz-Carlton, Esplanade, Clifford Pier, Cross Street, Tanjong Pagar, Tiong Bahru, Scotts, Sheraton Tower, Newton, Marriott Hotel, Mandarin Orchard, Orchard Gateway, Concorde Hotel, Rendezvous Hotel, NTUC Income Centre, Raffles City, Suntec City 65 minutes
The Ordinal Loop Marina Bay Sands, Esplanade, Seating Gallery, Bugis MRT Station, Lavender MRT Station, Kallang MRT Station 20 minutes

Boat fleet[edit]

  • 5 Condiesel Larc V


Takashimaya Shopping Centre in Orchard Road

There are various shopping belts in Singapore, Marina Bay, Bugis Street, Chinatown, Geylang Serai, Kampong Gelam & Arab Street, Little India, North Bridge Road, Orchard Road, and The Suburbs.

Singapore seeks to be the business hub of Southeast Asia and has an expansive shopping precinct located in the Orchard Road district. Many multistorey shopping centres are located at Orchard Road; the area also has many hotels, and it's the main tourism centre of Singapore, other than the Downtown Core. The local populace also use Orchard Road for shopping extensively.

Island resorts[edit]

Sentosa is a relatively large island of Singapore located to its south. Along with a beach-front resort, the island's tourist attractions include Fort Siloso, its historical museum, the Underwater World aquarium and the Tiger Sky Tower. Singapore also features two casinos (integrated resorts), one the Marina Bay Sands and the other, Resorts World Sentosa (home to Universal Studios Singapore) The proposal of building Singapore Casinos in these resorts was controversial.

Nature sight-seeing[edit]

The monument to Chopin in the Singapore Botanic Gardens, just south of Symphony Lake.

Singapore has a variety of parks and projects which often feature its natural tropical environment.

The Singapore Zoo and Night Safari, allows people to explore Asian, African and South American habitats at night, without any visible barriers between guests and the wild animals.

Singapore has its Singapore Botanic Gardens open to the public that is 52 hectares large, and includes the National Orchid collection with over 3000 types of orchids growing.

Recently the government has also been promoting the Sungei Buloh Wetlands Reserve as a quiet getaway from the stress of modern life.

The Bukit Timah Nature Reserve is an extensive nature reserve which covers much of the Bukit Timah Hill, and is the only remaining place where primary rainforest still exists on the island.

The Jurong Bird Park includes extensive specimens of exotic bird life from around the world, including a flock of one thousand flamingos.

Pulau Ubin, an island offshore Singapore, is slowly becoming a popular tourist spot. The nature wildlife there is left undisturbed.

River Safari is the latest attraction in Singapore which allows people to get up-close with river animals in major rivers around the world such as the Mississippi, Congo, Murray, Ganges, Mekong, Amazon, Nile and the Yangtze River.


Main article: Cuisine of Singapore

The cuisine of Singapore is often viewed by its population as a prime example of the ethnic diversity of the culture of Singapore. In Singapore's hawker centres – a technical misnomer, to be precise – for example, traditionally Malay hawker stalls selling halal food may serve halal versions of traditionally Tamil or Chinese food. Chinese stalls may introduce Malay or Indian ingredients, cooking techniques or entire dishes into their range of catering. Some dishes introduce elements from all three cultures, while others incorporate influences from the rest of Asia and the West.

This phenomenon makes the cuisine of Singapore significantly rich and a cultural attraction. Much prepared food is available in the hawker centres or food courts (e.g. Lau Pa Sat, Newton Food Centre) rather than actual restaurants. These centres are relatively abundant which often leads to low prices, and encourages a large consumer base.

Food in itself has been heavily promoted as an attraction for tourists, and is usually promoted by various initiatives undertaken by the Singapore Tourism Board or the associations it deals with as one of Singapore's best attractions alongside shopping. The government organises the Singapore Food Festival in July annually to celebrate Singapore's cuisine. The multiculturalism of local food, the ready availability of international cuisine, and their wide range in prices to fit all budgets at all times of the day and year helps create a "food paradise" to rival other contenders claiming the same moniker. The availability of variety of food is often aided by the fact Singapore's port lies along strategic routes. Catherine Ling of CNN listed Fish soup bee hoon, Bak kut teh, Chilli crab, Nasi Padang, Hainanese chicken rice,and Kaya toast as some of the "40 Singapore foods we can't live without".[4]

There is also a proliferation of fast-food chains, such as McDonald's, Pizza Hut, KFC, Burger King, Subway, Long John Silver's, and Mos Burger.

Halal and vegetarian food are also easily available.

Tourist events[edit]

Singapore Tourism Board promotes a variety of events all year round for tourists. Some of the anchor events are the Chingay Parade, Singapore Arts Festival and Singapore Garden Festival.[citation needed] The Singapore Food Festival is held every July to celebrate Singapore's cuisine. Other annual events include the Singapore Sun Festival, the Christmas Light Up, and the Singapore Jewel Festival.[5] Singapore hosted a round of the 2008 FIA Formula One World Championship (Singapore Grand Prix).[6] The race, held on a new street circuit at Marina Bay, was the first night-time event in Formula One history. The event was considered an overall success due to the sheer amount of organisation, planning and hard work put into the event.[1]. Also in 2010, Singapore hosted the inaugural Youth Olympic Games, where the Singapore Tourism Board (STB), which say the Games is expected to generate a minimum of 180,000 visitor nights for Singapore.[7]

See also[edit]


  1. ^ a b c Key Statistical Information
  2. ^ "Tourism Statistics Publications" (PDF). Singapore Tourism Board. Retrieved 2014-06-23. 
  3. ^ Excludes Malaysian citizens arriving by land.
  4. ^ Ling, Catherine (April 14, 2010). "40 Singapore foods we can't live without". CNN. 
  5. ^ What's On in Singapore,
  6. ^
  7. ^ "Inaugural Youth Olympic Games will boost Singapore's tourism industry". Channel NewsAsia. 23 February 2008. 

External links[edit]