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Chinese tourist arrivals to Singapore set to rise

Xinhua | Updated: 2015-05-24 14:57

Chinese tourist arrivals to Singapore set to get boost as the country's Immigration and Checkpoints Authority (ICA) announced Multiple Journey Visas (MJVs) valid for a maximum of 10 years will be granted to Chinese who travel to the city state from June 1, reported Channel NewsAsia on Thursday.

Industry observers said this will have spillover benefits for the wider economy, and can help Singapore keep its place amid a competitive regional tourism landscape.

Chief economist of Emerging Asia at Barclays Leong Wai Ho believed the re-entry permit is an incremental step to change the game, which helps to attract more upmarket Chinese travelers, middle class and people starting to travel in a niche fashion across Southeast Asia.

The number of visitors from China fell by 3.4 percent in February this year. In 2014, about 11 percent of visitors to Singapore came from China, making it the second largest source market for inbound tourists, both in terms of arrivals and expenditure. However, in absolute terms, there were only 1.7 million visitors from the mainland of China, which is a drop of 24 percent when compared to 2.3 million in 2013.

Industry watchers said the increase in Chinese arrivals can help local businesses, especially the retail sector. One of the more popular destinations among the Chinese is Orchard Road. The Chinese tourists spend about twice as much on shopping compared to travelers from other markets. Overall, their per capita expenditure is about 20 percent higher than the average visitor to Singapore.

Observers also noted that the ease of returning to Singapore could benefit other segments in the services sector, including healthcare, education and finance.

In 2014, the average length of stay for Chinese visitors in Singapore was up to 4.3 days, compared to just over three days a couple of years ago.

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