Singapore registered a record high growth in tourism in 2017, thanks in part to large number of Malaysians taking cruises from the island country.

With the increased demand for cruise holidays and packages, Malaysians added strong growth (+29%) to the city-state’s visitor numbers. Tourism receipts from Malaysia to Singapore increased by 11% to S$608m (RM1,793.78m), with expenditure on shopping being a key factor.

Total arrivals from Malaysia rose by 1.5%, largely contributed by a rise in visitors from Penang (+9.6%), Ipoh (+4.7%) and East Malaysia (+2.7%). Overall, tourism receipts rose by 3.9% to S$26.8bn (RM79.21bn) while tourist arrivals increased by 6.2% to 17.4 million.

Singapore Tourism Board (STB) area director (Malaysia and Brunei) Dawn Ng said the strong positive growth comes amid a “challenging year for the Malaysian market”. She said, “With added cruise liners homeporting out of Singapore in 2018, we will continue to drive cruise travels with cruise partners such as Royal Caribbean, Genting Dream and Costa Victoria.”

Ng added that travel operators should capitalise on the rising cruise trend by curating attractive packages with a land itinerary before or after cruising.

For 2018, STB forecasts tourism receipts to be in the range of S$27.1bn (RM80.09bn) to S$27.6bn (RM81.57bn) and international visitor arrivals to be in the range of 17.6 to 18.1 million.