The Singapore Tourism Board has urged the UK trade to “keep calm and carry on” selling the destination, which it says is “past the peak” of the impact of coronavirus.
The outbreak of the virus is estimated to trigger a decline of 25-30% of visitors to the island city-state globally over the course of 2020.
China is Singapore’s biggest market, but UK visitors reached record levels in 2019, with 608,000 Britons among the 19.1 million people travelling to the Asian country in 2019 as it saw a 3.3% rise in visitor numbers.
The tourism board’s assistant chief executive Chee Pey Chang pointed out that of 110 confirmed cases in Singapore, only 32 people are still in hospital and “most of them are stable”, with seven people under “more intensive care”.
Speaking to Travel Weekly, he said: “By and large things have stabilised in Singapore. It’s important to know that most people have recovered and have been discharged from hospital. It’s past its peak.”
Chang admitted that the country had been hit by the impact of coronavirus, both in terms of direct visitors and those travelling onwards to destinations like Australia and New Zealand via its global hub airport.
“The UK market is a very important market for Singapore,” he added. “We are very bullish about the long-term potential, and we want to do more here [in the UK] to work more closely with tour operators in more interesting ways.
“It wouldn’t be right for me to say it is business as usual but we’d encourage travellers to, as you say in the UK, keep calm and carry on.”
Chang said cruise line Dream Cruises, which mainly serves Asian markets, had decided to return to Singapore as part of its schedule from March 27.
He said the tourism board would be keen to work with lines which had cancelled Singapore calls, such as P&O Cruises, Cunard, Royal Caribbean International and Celebrity Cruises, to reinstate the port into their itineraries.
Travel restrictions remain in place preventing tourists from China, South Korea and northern Italy, the three worst-hit countries, from visitng Singapore.
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