Picture for representation
Tourists take photos by the famous Merlion fountain in Singapor Reuters

A study conducted by Singapore Tourism Board (STB) revealed that the country's tourism sector flourished in 2016 despite challenging economic conditions. According to figures released by STB, both visitor arrivals and tourism receipts surpassed the expected mark and achieved a historical height.

"Despite challenges such as a weaker economic performance in some of Singapore's top source markets and a Zika virus outbreak, Singapore has managed to attract more quality visitors to contribute to economic growth," said Lionel Yeo, the STB chief executive.

The study says visitor arrivals grew 7.7 percent with 16.4 million people visiting the Southeast Asian nation in 2016, Channel News Asia reported. There was a significant rise in visitors from China, Indonesia and India, which recorded a 36 percent, 6 percent and 8 percent increase respectively. STB believes the increase is mainly because of the growth in key markets where efforts had been intensified.

Tourism receipts grew 13.9 per cent to S$24.8 billion mainly because of food and beverage, shopping and accommodation spendings, the agency said during a press briefing.

Singapore was also being promoted by STB as a destination for business tourism. The country supported more than 410 business events in 2016, which was 15 percent more than the previous year. These events contributed 343,000 to visitor arrivals and generated approximately S$611 million in tourism receipts.

Efforts were being taken to grow the tourism industry in Singapore for a long time. For the past two years, STB has implemented a slew of measures to raise tourist numbers. This included a S$20 million global campaign to attract more visitors in 2015 and restructuring the hotel and travel agent industries to increase production. The statutory board also supported 52 technology-related projects through funds so that industry stakeholders could improve their operations.