The coronavirus outbreak has significantly impacted tourists, especially those from China, which accounts for about 20 percent of international holidaymakers to the city-state, according to the board.

Singapore’s tourism sector will take a significant hit, with visitor arrivals estimated to fall by 25-30 percent this year. (Photo: reuters)

STB Chief Executive Keith Tan said in a press conference that Singapore’s tourism sector is facing its biggest challenge since the SARS epidemic in 2003.

The country is losing an average of 18,000 to 20,000 international visitors per day and most of the lost visitors are Chinese. Meanwhile, travellers from other countries were also deferring or cancelling trips to Singapore.

Singapore has suspended entry to tourists with a recent history of travel to China and suspended visas for Chinese passport holders to stop the spread of the coronavirus.

As of February 10th, the country had reported 43 cases of nCoV, of whom seven were in critical care.

Singapore on February 7th raised its alert for coronavirus outbreak to Orange after the country recorded four infection cases of unknown origin.

Tan said there are no reasons for other countries to have travel advisories on Singapore and expressed his confident in the measures the Government has in place to contain the outbreak.

During the SARS outbreak in 2002-2003, Singapore experienced a 19 percent drop in the number of tourists.

Tourism contributes about 3-4 percent to the country’s economy. Last year, visitor arrivals rose 3.3 percent to a total of 19.1 million, and they spent a total of 27.1 billion SGD (19 billion USD) in tourism receipts./.