Travel Agent NewsSentosa shines for Singapore, Nam Hai in Vietnam hits the spot, and the Maldives is just magic.

Laidback and loving it: Where Aussies are travelling post-pandemic

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Increasingly, Australian travellers are choosing to base themselves on Sentosa and explore Singapore from there.
Increasingly, Australian travellers are choosing to base themselves on Sentosa and explore Singapore from there.

Australian travellers are tipped to favour destinations closer to home —particularly South-east Asia and New Zealand — as travel slowly returns to normal post-Covid.

“They’ll travel closer to home, but they’ll add a bit more luxury,” said Tom Manwaring, chief executive of the Melbourne-based Express Travel Group.

Manwaring said travellers were shortening the period between booking and flying, and business was “trickling back” as airlines restored flights and confidence in travel returned.

People are choosing to chill out on Sentosa and spend a day or two exploring Singapore city.– Kylie Luttrell, The Travel Notebook

“Singapore Airlines has been the stand-out for resuming flights out of Australia. I’d now like to see Qantas put more planes in the air,” Manwaring added.

“Overall, it’s still the Covid testing requirement at airports that needs to be eliminated across the region. People don’t like them from both a cost and nuisance point of view.”

Australia this week scrapped all test requirements for returning citizens and arriving visitors.

Manwaring expects business to Bali from Australia to be back to pre-Covid levels by the end of the year but destinations such as Malaysia and Thailand will be slower to recover.

“About 70% of the traffic at the moment is VFR travel,” he said. “We’re still coming out of Covid. It’s not business-as-usual, by any means.”

Jetstar this month launched its first flight from Perth to Bali in two years.
A Jetstar sale to Bali saw the highest number of bookings in a single day in more than five years.

Jetstar has also returned to Vietnam, with flights from Melbourne and Sydney.

Jetstar Group CEO Gareth Evans said there has been strong demand for travel to Vietnam, with the inaugural flight close to fully booked.

“Vietnam was one of the fastest growing holiday destinations in South-east Asia pre-pandemic, and we have seen strong bookings since Vietnam reopened its border.”

Vietnam was one of the fastest growing holiday destinations in South-east Asia pre-pandemic, and we have seen strong bookings since Vietnam reopened its border.– Gareth Evans, Jetstar Group

Kylie Luttrell, director of Gold Coast-based luxury travel agent, The Travel Notebook, said she is noticing distinct travel patterns emerging as business returns at a brisk rate.

“Pre-Covid, clients wanted to get as much out of a holiday as they possibly could, opting for stopovers, city visits, multi destinations etc, but that’s changed as people are opting for laidback, longer stays in one destination.

“People have felt suffocated by pandemic lockdowns and now they want to go where they can breathe the air, spend time with family and immerse themselves in culture.”

For example, she said, where once Australians would holiday in Singapore and spend a day or two on Sentosa, “now the opposite is happening”. “People are choosing to chill out on Sentosa and spend a day or two exploring Singapore city.”

Popular destinations right now among Travel Notebook clients are the Maldives, Thailand and Vietnam, where Hoi An and Nam Hai are attracting a lot of interest.

“There is also a huge focus on sustainable holidays,” Luttrell added.

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