Trade Shows and EventsTravel agencies keen to promote the Americas, cruise, and new split itinerary packages.

NATAS Travel 2019 highlights new destinations, split itinerary packages

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NATAS Travel190222
STB’s chief executive Keith Tan and NATAS president Steven Ler at the launch of NATAS Travel 2019 on Friday (February 22).
NATAS Travel190222

Speaking at the launch of the event, NATAS president Steven Ler said, “What started as a simple roadshow has grown into Singapore’s largest and most celebrated bi-annual consumer travel fair, joined by almost 200,000 visitors annually.”

Split itinerary travel packages for families, upcoming long haul destinations and new cruises were among the new products that travel agencies were eager to promote at the NATAS Travel 2019 fair that kicked off on Friday. 

More than 80 exhibitors showcased at the three-day fair, which is into its 54th edition. 

Speaking at the launch of the event, NATAS president Steven Ler said, “What started as a simple roadshow has grown into Singapore’s largest and most celebrated bi-annual consumer travel fair, joined by almost 200,000 visitors annually.”

Singapore Tourism Board’s (STB) chief executive Keith Tan notes that travel demand remains strong, with visitor arrivals to Singapore growing to 18.5 million last year, while Singapore and local residents' departures grew by 5% to reach 10.4 million. 

Americas rising
Travel to the Americas is among key growth trends that travel agency Dynasty Travel has noted. 

“America will be a hit this year. In the first quarter, we have seen bookings to America growing by more than 50%,” said Alicia Seah, director, public relations and communications, Dynasty Travel.

The reinstatement of direct flights connecting Singapore to the United States, culled in 2013 due to rising fuel surcharges and economic recession, are expected to see strong take up. 

Currently, Singapore has non-stop flights to San Francisco, Los Angeles, New York, and in September, to Seattle, which will anchor the sizeable cruise market into Alaska and Canadian Rockies.

With increasing flights, it is diversifying its travel offerings beyond west coast states like California with new packages for Texas and the national parks of America. South America is also of growing interest. This year, Dynasty has created new packages to Panama, Colombia and Ecuador. 

Split itinerary travel packages
Nearer the region, Dynasty Travel has also created new travel packages featuring split itineraries for parents and children to popular destinations such as Melbourne, Korea and Taiwan. 

“We’re making it a more educational experience for families who are travelling with younger children, with separate adults-only and children-only activities,” said Seah. 

A newly launched 7D5N package to Melbourne will offer parents the chance to go on a Melbourne river cruise and shop at the South Wharf DFO Outlet while their children visit the Scienceworks Museum and the Australian Centre for Moving Image. 

Parents also get to visit the Queen Victoria Market to discover a range of fresh produce and specialty products, while children get to enjoy a guided school tour through the market and meet traders to learn more about the fresh produce and Melbourne’s multicultural history. 

New cruises
Travellers from Singapore are taking to cruises, coming off a phenomenal 35% growth last year. 

Between last year and this year, cruise capacity is holding steady, remarked Koh Chong Wee, general manager of Citystate Cruises, with expectations of a 5-6% growth in passenger numbers. 

According to Koh, Phuket is a favourite among cruise passengers from Singapore. Cruises in Japan are also popular, anchored by cruise brands such as Princess, Celebrity and Costa.

Further afield, Alaska is becoming a more competitive market for cruise travellers, Koh observes. Prices for Alaska cruises are being driven down by the influx of more cruise lines offering Alaska itineraries.

This year, Singapore is also expecting to receive bigger and larger ships. In May, Royal Caribbean’s Spectrum of the Seas will be making three sailings, while the year-end will see the 4,180-passenger Quantum of the Seas sailing in to replace the 3,840-passenger Voyager of the Seas. 

“It’s about convincing cruise passengers who already cruise twice a year to perhaps add one more cruise vacation this year,” says Koh.


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