Travel Agent NewsSpate of positive news has led to a noticeable uptick in enquiries at Singapore tour agencies for cruise vacations and overseas travel.

Can tourism sail out of doldrums from Singapore's reopening moves?

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Since the announcement of the deployment of World Dream, which arrived in Singapore last week, Genting Cruise Lines said it has received over 6,000 bookings to date.
Since the announcement of the deployment of World Dream, which arrived in Singapore last week, Genting Cruise Lines said it has received over 6,000 bookings to date.

Excitement is bubbling up in the Singapore travel sector as all eyes turn to the Singapore-Hong Kong travel bubble, which is expected to take off as soon as end-November, according to latest media reports from both countries.

The latest? Singapore, in a unilateral move, will from 6 November allow travellers from China and the Australian state of Victoria into the country without the need for quarantine as long as they test negative from Covid-19 upon arrival.

Major travel agencies in the Lion City are already seeing the positive effects the recent reopening announcements have had on traveller sentiments. 

"We are optimistic that Hong Kong will be a popular short getaway for year-end holidays and beyond due to a variety of reasons—cuisine, shopping and easy access due to language and cultural similarities between the two cities and the pent-up wanderlust of Singaporeans amongst others," Victoria Chong, spokesperson from Chan Brothers told Travel Weekly Asia.

Dynasty Travel's spokesperson Alicia Seah also noted a similar spike in enquiries for Hong Kong, even as the air tickets and airfare situation on Singapore-Hong Kong sector remains fluid with the travel bubble dates unconfirmed.

However, she expects the enquiries to turn into bookings and more flights to be reinstated between both cities once the launch date is firmed up.

There is clearly a strong pent-up demand for overseas travel among Singaporean customers, Seah noted. She added that the string of positive news has also "activated interest" from Singaporean travellers in Asia-Pacific destinations such as Australia, New Zealand and Taiwan where Covid-19 is under control.

Wave of interest for cruises
Seah calls the renewed interest in travel the "4S effect", driven namely by Dynasty Travel offerings based on "staycations, seacations [by Dream Cruises], sailcations [by Royal Caribbean], and shopping till you drop in Hong Kong".

Nearer home, Singapore's cruise restart has received a positive response. Seah said Singapore's cruise restart is "seeing a lot of interest from cruise fans", a mixture of repeat cruise travellers who used to sail in the region as well as to far-flung destinations prior to Covid.

According to Chan Brother's Chong, enquiries and bookings have been "streaming in positively" since the two cruise lines announced the launch of short sailings from Singapore.

"Family holidaymakers, who see this a great opportunity for a short getaway for the year-end and Christmas festive period with their loved ones, are particularly strong segments indicating where the demand is coming from," she said.

"The short duration of the cruise-cations is also an attractive factor for PMEBs who are looking to escape the work from home routine of the past few months without having to disrupt much of their work schedule - indeed a sweet spot in our current times," added Chong.

Beyond the year-end holidays, both agencies told Travel Weekly Asia that the upcoming Chinese New Year and Valentine’s Day in 2021, which fall around the same period in mid February, have also received significant interest for these dates beyond 2020.

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