Singapore could suffer a 30% drop in arrivals and tourist related spending this year due to the coronavirus (2019-nCoV) outbreak, which would hit the city state worse than the Sars epidemic.

It is seeing 18,000 to 20,000 tourists less each day, Keith Tan, chief executive of Singapore Tourism Board, told Bloomberg TV.

Tan says it could plunge even further if the crisis drags on.

Not only is China the key source market for tourism, the suspension of flights to and from China has seen transit air traffic plummet at Changi Airport.

„We have over 1,600 tourist guides who guide in Mandarin and their livelihoods have also evaporated because many of them are freelancers,” said Tan.

Some countries such as South Korea and Indonesia have issued advisories for travel to Singapore.

Indonesia is also a huge source market for Singapore.

The city state has 43 confirmed cases of coronavirus infection.

Last year Singapore welcomed a record 19.1 million international visitors and had forecast a small increase in 2020.

A recent report by DBS Group Holdings Ltd expects a decline of at least one million this year , which is equal to a deficit of about $1 billion in tourism spending.

According to Charles Tan, secretary-general of the National Association of Travel Agents Singapore, hotels are encouraging workers to take a block of annual leave now or are placing workers on a four-day week.

The Singapore Tourism Board said it is forming a Tourism Recovery Action Taskforce to draw up strategy for tourism industry recovery efforts.

source: Trave Mole