Counting the IR chips

Dear Straits Times,

I refer to your article dated 26 Aug 2010.

On the basis of your intuition, you said the opening of the two integrated resorts is related to the spectacular rebound in economic growth. We need reports based on facts and evidence, not intuition.

You said the resorts have added jobs and helped propel tourist arrivals to record highs. But how many of those jobs went to Singaporeans? How do we know that our tourist numbers have not rebounded from the recession year last year just like it did going from the SARS year of 2003 to 2004?

You said tourist numbers went up to a ‘whopping’ one million visitors last month after the IRs have opened. That’s a mere increase of 118,000 visitors over the same month last year which is so much less than the 262,000 increase going from the SARS year of 2003 to 2004. There is nothing ‘whopping’ about the increase in visitor numbers judging from past experiences of recovery from economic crises.

While the integrated resorts have made spectacular revenues and profits, it is important to know how much of those revenues and profits have come from Singaporeans because gambling money that came from Singaporeans is merely money transferred from one hand to another that does not in any way contribute to any real output from the country.

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