Singapore had 5th highest tourist expenditure in the world for shopping last year: Mastercard

Tourists at the Merlion Park in Singapore.
The Straits Times

Ever wondered what tourists visiting Singapore enjoy doing in the Lion City? It turns out eating and shopping are among the top activities – at least according to how much money they’ve spent doing these things.

The latest Mastercard Global Destination Index reveals that Singapore is the fifth top city for tourist spending in the category of shopping, and 10th in the dining category.

The index ranks 162 cities in terms of total international overnight visitors and the amount spent by visitors in the destination cities in 2017.

Compared to 2016, there was a 9 per cent increase in terms of total expenditure spend in Singapore, with travellers spending an average of US$286 (S$392) per day in 2017.

Read also: Singapore edges out New York for the first time in 3 years as a top destination city

In 2017, tourists in Singapore spent US$4.7 billion on shopping alone – that’s 27.6 per cent of their traveling budget. The only Asian city that beat Singapore was Tokyo, which came in one notch higher at fourth place.

But that’s nothing compared to Dubai, where tourists spent US$8.91 billion on shopping.


The UAE city – which registered US$29.7 billion in tourist expenditure in 2017 – also achieved top spot in the food category, where tourists spent a total of US$5.94 billion.

Other Asian cities on the top 10 list include Bangkok at sixth place, Seoul at seventh, and Kuala Lumpur at ninth spot.

Travellers visiting Singapore spent a total of US$2.2 billion on dining, which is equivalent to about 12.9 per cent of their total budget. This puts Singapore at 10th place on the ranking in this category, and third in Asia behind Bangkok and Tokyo.


“With its vibrant malls and quaint eateries offering a wide variety of local and international cuisines, it is no surprise that Singapore ranks amongst the top five and 10 cities globally for shopping and dining respectively, providing visitors a truly immersive cultural experience,” Deborah Heng, country manager at Mastercard Singapore said.

Earlier this month, Twitter also revealed that Singapore was the 10th most-visited destination among the social media platform’s users. According to Twitter, good food and local cuisine was the top reason visitors wanted to visit Singapore.

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