Singapore’s Gamble Pays Off With Record Tourism in May

Singapore is riding a hot streak as the openi..." /> Singapore’s Gamble Pays Off With Record Tourism in May

Singapore is riding a hot streak as the openi...">
Singapore’s Gamble Pays Off With Record Tourism in May

Singapore is riding a hot streak as the openings of the Marina Bay Sands casino and Genting’s Resorts World on Sentosa Island have helped break the nation’s May record for arrivals as visitors from Indonesia and other nations crowd the tables.

The Singapore Tourism Board on Monday said the city-state welcomed 30.3 percent more visitors in May over the year-earlier period, with the greatest number coming from Indonesia.

“I just came back from Singapore on Sunday and I’m going to go there again on Thursday to gamble,” said Debora Putri, one of many Indonesians lured to the Marina Bay Sands, which is owned by Las Vegas Sands, the world’s most valuable gaming firm.

Debora said that her aunt and her had won about 7,000 Singapore dollars ($5,000) on the roulette tables. “I have 1,000 Singapore dollars in hand just for starters,” she said of her next visit to the casino. “Of course, I can’t gamble in Indonesia because it’s illegal.”

The STB said 946,000 people visited Singapore last month, up from 939,000 in April and 726,000 in May 2009.

According to Malaysian news agency Bernama, the STB said Singapore’s top five visitor-generating markets in May were Indonesia with 186,000 visitors, India with 116,000, Malaysia with 82,000, China 72,000, and Australia 64,000.

Las Vegas Sands said last week that its $5.5 billion Singapore casino has exceeded forecasts since opening in April and could attract up to 150,000 visitors a day.

The STB said Singapore hotels reported an average 85 percent occupancy rate in May, up from 68 percent a year earlier, pushing the average room rate up by 13.4 percent from a year ago to 209 Singapore dollars a night.

Bernama reported that hotel room revenue grew by 45.2 percent from May 2009 to 164 million Singapore dollars last month.

The nation hopes to double visitor arrivals to 17 million with annual tourism revenue of $22 billion by 2015, and is counting on the new mega casino-resorts to help fuel economic growth.

Singapore is aiming to boost visitor numbers by as much as 30 percent this year to 12.5 million.

But what are the odds on Indonesia cashing in with a casino on its shores?

Former President BJ Habibie in 2006 floated the idea of opening a casino on Batam Island, located just a few kilometers from Singapore, in a bid to draw tourists and boost foreign exchange revenues.

But the proposal never got off the ground as the government was concerned about how religious groups would react.


I Gede Pitana, director of inter
<span style="font-size: 14pt"><span style="font-weight: bold">Singapore&rsquo;s Gamble Pays Off With Record Tourism in May</span></span><br /> <br /> Singapore is riding a hot streak as the openings of the Marina Bay Sands casino and Genting&rsquo;s Resorts World on Sentosa Island have helped break the nation&rsquo;s May record for arrivals as visitors from Indonesia and other nations crowd the tables.<br /> <br /> The Singapore Tourism Board on Monday said the city-state welcomed 30.3 percent more visitors in May over the year-earlier period, with the greatest number coming from Indonesia.<br /> <br /> &ldquo;I just came back from Singapore on Sunday and I&rsquo;m going to go there again on Thursday to gamble,&rdquo; said Debora Putri, one of many Indonesians lured to the Marina Bay Sands, which is owned by Las Vegas Sands, the world&rsquo;s most valuable gaming firm.<br /> <br /> Debora said that her aunt and her had won about 7,000 Singapore dollars ($5,000) on the roulette tables. &ldquo;I have 1,000 Singapore dollars in hand just for starters,&rdquo; she said of her next visit to the casino. &ldquo;Of course, I can&rsquo;t gamble in Indonesia because it&rsquo;s illegal.&rdquo;<br /> <br /> The STB said 946,000 people visited Singapore last month, up from 939,000 in April and 726,000 in May 2009.<br /> <br /> According to Malaysian news agency Bernama, the STB said Singapore&rsquo;s top five visitor-generating markets in May were Indonesia with 186,000 visitors, India with 116,000, Malaysia with 82,000, China 72,000, and Australia 64,000.<br /> <br /> Las Vegas Sands said last week that its $5.5 billion Singapore casino has exceeded forecasts since opening in April and could attract up to 150,000 visitors a day.<br /> <br /> The STB said Singapore hotels reported an average 85 percent occupancy rate in May, up from 68 percent a year earlier, pushing the average room rate up by 13.4 percent from a year ago to 209 Singapore dollars a night.<br /> <br /> Bernama reported that hotel room revenue grew by 45.2 percent from May 2009 to 164 million Singapore dollars last month.<br /> <br /> The nation hopes to double visitor arrivals to 17 million with annual tourism revenue of $22 billion by 2015, and is counting on the new mega casino-resorts to help fuel economic growth.<br /> <br /> Singapore is aiming to boost visitor numbers by as much as 30 percent this year to 12.5 million.<br /> <br /> But what are the odds on Indonesia cashing in with a casino on its shores?<br /> <br /> <span style="font-weight: bold">Former President BJ Habibie in 2006 floated the idea of opening a casino on Batam Island, located just a few kilometers from Singapore, in a bid to draw tourists and boost foreign exchange revenues.<br /> <br /> But the proposal never got off the ground as the government was concerned about how religious groups would react.</span><br /> <br /> I Gede Pitana, director of inter
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