The total number of people who visited Singapore rose marginally in 2015 but the city state's tourism revenue declined 6.8 percent from the previous year.

Tourism receipts in the last year were S$22 billion, while international arrivals inched up to 15.2 million from 15.1 million a year ago.

The Singapore Tourism Board (STB) said on Monday the fall in receipts was owing to a 6 percent decline in business travel and meetings, incentives, conventions and exhibition (BTMICE) visitor arrivals.

Tourism officials said the business travel decline hit tourism receipts the hardest. "As the average BTMICE visitor spends about two times more than the average leisure visitor, the fall in BTMICE visitor arrivals and spending due to companies cutting back on both travel and trip budgets has had a significant impact on our tourism receipts," STB chief executive Lionel Yeo said.

An 8 percent decline in tourists' per capita expenditure also suggested international travellers were tightening their purse strings in a softening global economy.

The decline in tourism receipts in Singapore was the first since the 2009 global financial crisis, the Straits Times reported.

Indonesians accounted for the largest number of foreign nationals visiting Singapore, at 2.73 million arrivals. This was, however, 10 percent less than the previous year's arrivals, STB's Year in Review report said.

The number of Malaysians who visited Singapore also fell by 5 percent. The drop in tourist arrivals from Malaysia and Indonesia was largely because of a depreciation of rupiah and the ringgit against Singapore dollar.

Despite a slowdown in the Chinese economy, the number of tourists from that country registered a 22 percent jump at 2.11 million visitors.

STB said this was due to robust growth in the number of travellers from Tier 1 and 2 cities.

There as a fall in the number of travellers from Australia and Japan as well.

STB has projected a growth of up to 3 percent in visitor arrivals in 2016. The board also forecasts tourism receipts to grow up to 2 percent this year.