Visitors to Singapore fall to record low in 2021

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Tourists wearing protective face masks pose for photos at the Merlion Park in Singapore, January 28, 2020. REUTERS/Feline Lim/File Photo

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SINGAPORE, Jan 25 (Reuters) - Singapore had record low international arrivals in 2021, but saw signs of recovery after introducing a quarantine waiver system for vaccinated visitors and offering cash vouchers, its tourism authority said on Tuesday.

Singapore had 330,000 international arrivals in 2021, the lowest since the Singapore Tourism Board (STB) started tracking the numbers in the 1970s, data showed. That was less than 2% of the pre-pandemic visitor number.

Revenue was an estimated S$1.9 billion ($1.41 billion) in 2021, also one of the lowest on record. In comparison, Singapore had 19.1 million visitors and generated S$27.1 billion in 2019.

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For much of 2020 and last year, Singapore tightly controlled arrivals to the city-state, requiring those who entered to quarantine for up to two weeks.

It introduced quarantine waivers for vaccinated visitors from certain countries from September last year.

China was the top source of visitors, with 88,000 arrivals between January and December 2021, STB said, compared to 3.6 million in 2019.

Strict Chinese COVID-19 policies that discourage overseas travel have hurt tourism globally.

($1 = 1.3432 Singapore dollars)

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Reporting by Chen Lin; Editing by Martin Petty

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