Tour OperatorsWhy this 11-day tour makes "strategic sense" — when it comes to geographical, VTL and safety protocol considerations.

EU Holidays launches first multi-country tour to Netherlands, Germany and France

EU Holidays launches several inaugural leisure group tours following the opening of Vaccinated Travel Lanes (VTL) with South Korea and European countries like France, Italy and the Netherlands.
EU Holidays launches several inaugural leisure group tours following the opening of Vaccinated Travel Lanes (VTL) with South Korea and European countries like France, Italy and the Netherlands. Photo Credit: EU Holidays

Prior to the Covid-19 pandemic, EU Holidays’ 13-day Italy, Switzerland and Paris tour used to be their bread and butter. And while vaccinated travel lanes (VTLs) are increasingly expanding, EU Holidays has just sent a group off on a multi-country European tour traversing Germany, the Netherlands and France — in what they say makes "strategic sense".

On 20 November, the agency led its inaugural multi-country tour group of 16 travellers on a 11-day tour traversing Germany, the Netherlands and France — also the first tour group to depart for multiple European countries under Singapore’s VTL arrangement.

The decision to group the Netherlands, Germany and France into a single tour package was made out of strategic sense, according to Ong Han Jie, director of EU Holidays. Visitors would fly from Singapore into Amsterdam and make their way by coach to the cities of Cologne, Mainz, Heidelberg, Colmar, Dijon and finally Paris, where they would board a flight back to Singapore.

“Since these three countries are nearer to each other compared to other European destinations, it’ll be easier to manage VTL requirements and safety protocols,” Ong said.

“Our former bread and butter tour which took travellers to Italy, Switzerland and Paris over a period of 13 days may be a bit more rushed especially when we have to take various safety measurements in consideration along the whole journey, so we don’t think this itinerary is suitable at the moment.”

Each tour group’s capacity has been limited to a maximum of 20 travellers, half the size of EU Holidays’ pre-covid groups. Despite the 50% cut in group capacity, Ong said that “we are still using a 40- to 45-seater coach to take our passengers around Europe, allowing for safe distancing even on board the bus.”

In addition to that, the bus is sanitised at the end of each day, which Ong says is “one of the safety measures imposed by the company”.

Other safety protocols include EU Holidays’ mandate for masks to be worn throughout the duration of the trip — even though it has not been enforced by authorities in many European countries — as Ong believes this step will ensure that “our passengers stay safe at all times”.

“We also make it compulsory that all of our customers have a valid insurance that covers Covid-19 clauses before departing Singapore,” Ong added, which he estimates costs about S$200 (US$ 146) for a mid-tiered Covid-19 travel insurance plan.

Even though travellers have to buy their own Covid-19 travel insurance policies, EU Holidays has provided their customers another safety layer: emergency response teams.

“[There's] one in Singapore, and others in the various countries that our travellers visit. We choose our land operators very carefully. They will come to our assistance if someone in our tour group tests positive for Covid-19 and follow up with the situation on the ground, including facilitating the passenger’s treatment, and informing the Ministry of Health (MOH) and the passenger’s relatives.”

The travel agency aims to further cater to the pent-up demand of Singaporean travellers with the additional release of inaugural tours to South Korea and Italy, which also practises the same safety protocols.

“We check with the Singapore ministry and the relevant countries’ ministries to make sure that departing groups can be safely and securely managed by us. There’s a lot of liaising to make sure that we can bring our groups safely across,” Ong said. “In the event that there’s any tightening measures during the course of the tour, we have also liaised with airlines to make sure that we can bring our passengers back home safely.”

“Due to our extensive safety protocols undertaken during our previous VTL tours, travellers are growing increasingly confident in choosing us as their preferred travel planner,” Ong shared. “We want to ensure that the confidence our customers showed us for what we have previously done can be further enhanced.”

According to Ong, EU Holidays currently holds the biggest list of confirmed tour groups in Singapore, with more than 50 groups scheduled to depart on the company’s full range of leisure tours within November and December 2021.

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