Tourists visiting Singapore chase bargains, not baccarat

Research from HSBC shows a growing number of Chinese tourists visiting Singapore fuelled a 44 per cent increase in retail spending in the first half of this year, versus the same period last year. That put retail ahead of casinos in terms of tourist spending for the first time in five years.

The number of  Singapore-bound Chinese tourists totalled about 2.1 million in 2016 – twice the number of 2009, the year before the country opened the first of its two casinos.

Erwan Rambourg, London-based global co-head of consumer and retail research with HSBC, said Chinese, Indonesian and Indian visitors were the top three spenders in the second quarter of 2016, accounting for 40 per cent of total tourist spending. A quarter of spending went on shopping – up from just 18 per cent in the same period last year.

Last year, Chinese spent S1.15 billion in Singapore stores – compared with just $175 million spent by Indians and $112 million by Japanese. But they spent less than any other nationality on food and accommodation.

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