Tourism receipts a better indicator than visitor arrivals

Dear Straits Times,

I refer to the 9 Dec 2010 Straits Times letter by the Singapore Tourism Board’s Mr Leong Yue Kheong.

While visitor arrival growth is driven by many factors, we must take care to differentiate those factors which are important from those which are not so that we do not end up trumpeting factors that do not have any real material effect on tourist numbers.

According to the STB, the 2008 F1 attracted 40,000 foreign visitors while the 2009 F1 attracted 27,000 foreign visitors. These represent 0.4% and 0.27% of the visitor numbers in 2008 and 2009 respectively. There is thus no evidence that the F1 has significantly boosted tourist numbers. Why do the authorities insist on trumpeting events like the F1 or the Youth Olympics as having fuelled rise in visitor numbers when there is no evidence to support such a claim?

The combined tourism receipt of $265 million coming from the 2008 and 2009 editions of the F1 should be compared with the cost of staging the event. According to the 19 Oct 2010 Business Times report “F1 engines will roar here at least till 2014”, the annual cost of staging the F1 is $150 million. We thus paid $300 million staging the 2008 and 2009 editions of the F1 which exceeds the tourism receipt of $265 million and therefore lost money staging the F1. We must not forget to count the costs while using tourism receipt as an indicator.

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One Response to “Tourism receipts a better indicator than visitor arrivals”

  1. Du hoc Singapore Says:

    Nice blog!I like your writing way. I love Singapore. I hope i can study Information Technology here in next year.

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