Singapore welcomed 12.92 million visitors for the January – October period, up 8.4 percent from the previous year, according to preliminary estimates from the Singapore Tourism Board (STB).

The figure suggests that STB's target for this year of 14.8-15.5 million visitor arrivals could be achieved since many festivities would be held during the last two months of the year.

This also means that Singapore is well on track to hit a long-established target of 16 million visitors by 2014 and 17 million by 2015.

However, tourist spending was not equal to the growth rates of visitor arrivals. Data from STB showed that while the number of arrivals was 9 percent higher at 3.9 million in the first quarter, spending slipped 6 percent to 5.7 billion SGD from the corresponding quarter a year ago. The situation is expected the same in the second and the third quarters.

Last year, Singapore attracted 14.4 million visitors who spent 23 billion SGD in tourism receipts. STB is expecting tourism receipts to hit 23.5-24.5 billion SGD this year.

Singapore expects to lure 17 million tourists by 2015 to get tourism receipts of 30 billion SGP . The STB hopes to raise tourism contributions to the country’s GDP to 8 percent by 2015.-VNA