Singapore thanks ‘Crazy Rich Asians’, Trump-Kim Summit, and China for big boost in tourism last year

Screengrab from video
Screengrab from video

2018 saw a huge boost for Singapore’s tourism sector, with the city-state achieving new highs in tourist spending and visitor arrivals.

According to the Singapore Tourism Board (STB), total visitor arrivals last year rose to 18.5 million, a 6.2 percent increase from 2017. Keith Tan, the head of STB, attributes the growth to factors such as strong Asia-Pacific travel demand, increased flight connectivity to Singapore, and various high-profile events.

One high-profile event, of course, is none other than the historic summit between US President Donald Trump and North Korean Leader Kim Jong-un in June 2018. STB highlighted that the event brought extensive international media coverage about Singapore’s capability in hosting major international events, as well as the country’s top-notch safety and security. The various tie-in deals and promotions at local bars and restaurants helped a lot too in promoting Singapore as a foodie destination.

Unsurprisingly, nothing was mentioned about that horrible Trump-Kim summit costume proudly worn by Miss Universe Singapore 2018. Shudder.

Another historic event that put the city-state onto the world stage is the release of Crazy Rich Asians — the (meh) Hollywood rom-com blockbuster set in Singapore with an all-Asian cast. STB co-marketed the release of the flick with a “Crazy Rich Singapore Week” that brought a taste of Singapore food, cocktails, art and music to Hollywood. Additionally, it was revealed that there had been a 110 percent increase in searches for Singapore on Orbitz, while the organic search interest in Singapore actually increased by more than three times in the United States, according to Google data.

STB, however, is very thankful to China for contributing to Singapore’s boost in tourist numbers and revenue. For the second year running, China has been the number one source market for visitor arrivals and tourism receipts. 2018 saw 3.4 million visitors from China (a six percent increase from 2017) and $3.2 billion spent (a three percent increase from 2017).

The forecast for 2019? Even bigger growth. STB expects tourism receipts to be in the range of S$27.3 to S$27.9 billion and international visitor arrivals to be in the range of 18.7 to 19.2 million.

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