Singapore saw a record 15.5 million international arrivals, an increase of 7.2 percent from the previous year, said the Singapore Tourism Board (STB) in its tourism sector performance report released on Feb. 17.

Also according to the STB, although tourist spending hit a record 23.5 billion SGD, the 1.6 percent growth in 2013 was the slowest since 2009.

Chief Executive Lionel Yeo attributed increases in arrivals and spending to the availability of low-cost carriers that resulted in customers spending less on air fares.

There was a six percent increase in business travelers to Singapore last year, yet business travel spending dropped by six percent, which, Yeo said, could be due to both cutbacks on corporate travel budgets as well as “cyclical factors” related to the uncertainty in the global economy.

Last year saw an injection of 6.5 percent capacity, taking the number of hotel rooms in the city-state to nearly 55,000. Average occupancy slipped one percentage point from 2012 to 86 percent in 2013, while the average room rate declined from 262 SGD to 258 SGD.

Upon the above-said report, the tourism authority estimated that targets for 16 million tourists in 2014 and 17 million in 2015 are within hand.-VNA