According to the Mastercard Asia Pacific Destinations Index 2017, international tourists spent US$15.4 billion (S$21.5 billion) last year, while Bangkok took in US$12.7 billion and Tokyo, US$11.1 billion.
And this has been an ongoing trend. The payments provider said Singapore has tracked an 18 per cent jump in visitor spend over the past two years, or 2015 to 2016.
However, it was Bangkok that took top spot in terms of the region’s most-visited destination. The Thai capital drew 19.3 million visitors, while Singapore was the second most-visited destination with 13.1 million visitors and Tokyo third with 12.6 million last year, the findings showed.
Of the five destinations in the region to garner a minimum spend of US$200 a day from these visitors, Singapore attracted the highest-spending visitors at US$254 per day, compared with Beijing’s US$242 and Shanghai’s US$234, it added.
REGIONAL TRAVEL HUB
Singapore also maintained its position as a regional travel hub, both as an origin and feeder city, Mastercard said. Chinese travellers accounted for the largest share of arrivals into Singapore at 17.5 per cent, or about 2.3 million visitors, followed by travellers from Indonesia (2 million visitors) and India (920,000 visitors).
As a feeder city, Singapore leads all intra-regional arrivals in Southeast Asian destinations with 6.3 per cent, or 7.9 million visitors, the findings showed.
Local authorities have been keen to promote the country as a choice stopover, with Changi Airport, Singapore Airlines and the Singapore Tourism Board inking a three-year renewal of partnership to do just that.
“Over the last two years, Singapore has experienced an 18 per cent growth in visitor expenditure, demonstrating that our city-state has reaped the benefits of its many leisure offerings – from tourist attractions to new and different lifestyle and retail experiences,” said Mastercard Singapore country manager Deborah Heng.
“Singapore has solidified its position as a leading travel destination in the Asia Pacific region, boasting the highest overall tourist expenditure. This will encourage both the public and private sector to work together to develop new initiatives that will build on the work done to date.”