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Singapore airport visitors soar to record high

Singapore Airlines Ltd. flight staff walk through Changi Airport in Singapore, on Wednesday, July 27, 2011.
Munshi Ahmed | Bloomberg | Getty Images
Singapore Airlines Ltd. flight staff walk through Changi Airport in Singapore, on Wednesday, July 27, 2011.

Singapore's Changi airport handled a record 53.7 million passengers last year, said Changi Airport Group, as travel appetite across the region soared and Singapore became a more popular holiday destination.

Passenger numbers rose 5 percent on year in 2013, while the number of landings was up nearly 6 percent at 343,800.

Monthly passenger traffic for December also crossed the five million mark for the first time since the airport opened in 1981, while the daily record was broken on the Saturday just before Christmas (on 21 December) with 191,800 passengers and 1,100 flights registered in the 24 hours.

Rising traffic numbers at the airport follow a report from research firm CLSA published earlier this month which found that Singapore was set to benefit directly from the boom in Chinese tourism, with outbound tourists set to double to 200 million by 2020. Singapore was the fourth favorite travel destination for Chinese tourists, after Thailand, Taiwan, and South Korea, said CLSA.

(Read More: Chinese tourists to double by 2020: CLSA)

Furthermore, a survey by travel website Expedia showed that Singapore was the sixth most popular destination for Asian tourists in a recent survey, after Tapei, Bangkok, Seoul, Tokyo and Osaka, respectively.

A strong uptick in travel demand across the Asia-Pacific region helped contribute to demand, the Changi Airport Group found, as traffic to Southeast Asia and Northeast Asia rose 8.2 percent and 7 percent, respectively.

Jakarta was Changi airport's busiest route, followed by Bangkok, Kuala Lumpur, Hong Kong and Manila. Denpasar-Bali continued to be hugely popular with travelers, logging a 17 percent on-year increase, while increased demand for flights to Tapei at 15 percent on year, brought the Taiwan capital into the top ten for the first time.

(Read More: Singapore workers are unhappiest in Asia: survey)

"With steady growth, Changi Airport now serves more than 53 million passengers a year and this places Changi Airport among the five busiest international airports in the world," said Lee Seow Hiang, chief executive officer of Changi Airport Group.

The CEO added, however, that he did not expect passenger traffic to continue its current momentum.

"In the near-term, traffic growth at Changi Airport is not expected to be as robust as what we had experienced in the recovery following the global financial crisis in 2008 and 2009," he said.

Changi airport handles over 6,900 weekly scheduled flights, and more than 100 airlines connect Singapore to 280 cities in about 60 countries around the world.

(Read More: U.S.business travel spending to rise with foreign trips

By CNBC's Katie Holliday: Follow her on Twitter @hollidaykatie