Singapore — An unexpected advantage has arisen for the country’s hotel industry stemming from the recent turmoil in Hong Kong. Data shows that hotel occupancy in Singapore has been the highest in over a decade, partly due to more tourists as well as events being moved from Hong Kong due to the protests mounted in that city over the past 13 weeks.
On September 2, Monday, the Singapore Tourism Board (STB) released data that showed that the occupancy rates in Singapore’s hotel were at a record 93.8 percent in July. At the same time in 2018, it was at 92.5 percent.
This is the highest rate it has been since 2005.
SDB’s data also showed that Singapore is experiencing the greatest amount of revenue per room in nearly four years, partly due to events such as conferences being moved from Hong Kong, given the increasing violence in the nature of the demonstrations there. Hong Kong and Singapore have long been rival business hubs.
Reuters quotes DBS analyst Derek Tan as saying, “Singapore may benefit twice as much from the Hong Kong fallout as both these destinations share similar traits.”
One conference whose venue has been moved from Hong Kong to Singapore is the Global Wellness Summit, wherein around 600 health and beauty industry delegates meet. The summit is scheduled for the middle of October.
A spokeswoman for the event said that the venue switch was made “to ensure travel is as seamless as possible”.
Hotelier Marcus Hanna, the General Manager of Fairmont Singapore and Swissotel The Stamford, has also reported an uptick in guests wanting to move their business meetings or conferences from Hong Kong to Singapore, with the most recent being a group of 60 businesspersons staying for five nights.
Also telling is the recent increase in revenue per available room, a which is a key performance metric in the hotel industry. In July 2018, it was at S$ 200.20, while in July 2019 it was at S$ 203.70.
One of the target venues of the demonstrations in Hong Kong has been the city’s international airport, which has resulted in canceled flights and disrupted operations. Hotels in Hong Kong have reported cancellations to booked reservations, as well as decreased occupancy rates.
Additionally, a number of countries have advised against non-essential travel to Hong Kong, including Singapore’s Ministry of Foreign Affairs (MFA), which issued an advisory on August 16. Shortly after the MFA advisory, the country’s three biggest public universities, the National University of Singapore (NUS), Nanyang Technological University (NTU), and Singapore Management University (SMU) temporarily postponed student exchange programmes in Hong Kong as well.
The report from Reuters also quoted Dynasty Travel’s Alicia Seah as saying, “The outlook remains bleak for September and the rest of the year for destination Hong Kong.
There are now spillover effects … with both leisure and business travellers opting to travel to Singapore instead of Hong Kong.”/ TISG
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