Visitor arrivals in Singapore plummeted to about 240,000 in March, the lowest since the SARS outbreak in 2003. The figures were published by the Singapore Tourism Board today. The number of arrivals last month represents an 85% year-on-year drop.

The last time Singapore experienced a drop of this magnitude was during the SARS outbreak in April and May 2003 when the Republic received 217,000 visitors and 191,000 respectively over the two months.

About 2.7 million tourists arrived in Singapore between January and March, a 43% drop compared with the same period last year. Poh Chi Chuan, Singapore Tourism Board’s executive director for digital transformation expects the downward trend to continue in the light of the global COVID-19 spread. The tourism industry has been among the hardest hit by the outbreak with travel now grounded to a halt.

Trade and Industry Minister Chan Chun Sing said recovery would require more than just tourism industry help schemes, adding that Singapore had shared the need to work together on three issues during the ASEAN tourism ministers video conference meeting Wednesday. He said that the first is elevating and harmonizing health and hygiene standards for the tourism sector to boost confidence in the region. Secondly is to boost South East Asia as a regional destination and maintain the connectivity of the region’s air, land and sea links and preserve the landing rights of the respective members. He added that ASEAN member countries should also build up their technological capabilities and common infrastructure areas such as contract tracing and adoption of digital systems to facilitate travel.


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