Singapore visitor arrivals sink to historic low of 748 in April

This article is more than 12 months old

The number of visitors to Singapore plummeted to a historic low of 748 in April, the first full month since a ban on short-term visitors was put in place.

The Straits Times understands these visitors were allowed entry due to extenuating circumstances.

The figure represents a near 100 per cent drop from the 1.6 million tourists that came in the same month last year, according to figures published by the Singapore Tourism Board (STB) on the Singapore Tourism Analytics Network website.

The average length of stay shot up more than 1,000 per cent, from three days to 39 days.

STB executive director for digital transformation Poh Chi Chuan told ST this was likely because of stay-home notice requirements for short-term visitors, as well as a lower number of visitors entering Singapore.

Data shows that Indonesia was the top source of visitors in April with about 200 arrivals, followed by Thailand with 153 and Malaysia with 96.

There were only 18 visitors from China, Singapore's traditional top source market.

About 2.7 million tourists arrived here from January to April, a 58 per cent fall compared to the same period last year. The unprecedented move to bar short-term visitors from entering or transiting through Singapore took effect on March 24.

There were 240,000 visitors that month, the lowest since the severe acute respiratory syndrome (Sars) outbreak hit the Republic in 2003.

Mr Poh said border restrictions are being eased in a careful, risk-calibrated manner.

This has started on a limited scale through green lane arrangements that focus on transit passengers, as well as essential business and official travel that supports Singapore's economic recovery, critical services and global supply chains, he added.

Singapore is preparing to resume essential travel through arrangements with certain countries to facilitate health screening and contact tracing.

A fast-lane agreement with China will kick in on June 8 to allow approved business and official trips to go ahead, while discussions are under way with countries such as Australia Malaysia and South Korea.

On mass travel, Mr Poh said: "We anticipate that it will take some time before we can welcome visitors back to experience Singapore in larger numbers."