Travel fairs are alive and well, according to the leaders of three
travel agent associations speaking at CruiseWorld Asia 2022, which took
place 25 October in Singapore.
Running concurrently with virtual travel fairs during the pandemic,
those fairs in Indonesia and the Philippines were rated a big success as
people responded to the energy of live events.
National Association of Travel Agents Singapore (NATAS), for example,
held its first onsite travel consumer fair since the pandemic at
Singapore Expo in August with great success.
Steven Ler, president of NATAS, shared that 49% of visitors to the
fair “actually bought packages, having done their homework about where
to go and what to do”.
He said 72% of those attending the NATAS Travel Fair were repeat
visitors. Of the rest, Ler said there was a noticeably younger crowd who
had never previously attended a NATAS travel fair.
“Profits were made on the first day for some operators, which was great news,” Ler added.
Pauline Suharno, chair of ASTINDO, the Indonesian Travel Agents
Association, said the organisation encouraged members to take part in
travel fairs “and boost energy”.
“Onsite engagement is still much higher for travel fairs compared to
virtual fairs, where engagement is only 15%,” Suharno added.
Michelle Taylan, president of Philippine Travel Agencies Association
(PTAA), said people were excited to travel again and explore
destinations at travel fairs.
Hotspots for Filipino consumers are Japan, South Korea, Europe, and
Turkey with proximity and safety concerns of high importance.
For the Indonesia market, the top three destinations are the US, Japan and South Korea.
Top holiday destinations for Singaporeans are Europe, especially
Finland, Sweden and Switzerland, despite surging long-haul airfare
Ler suggested, “Cruises play a key part in connecting different Asian
cities,” while Suharno urged the regional promotion of twin cities,
“like UNESCO world heritage trails in Indonesia and Malaysia”.
All three urged travel agents to “reinvent themselves” in consultancy
roles and meet the public’s demand for greater clarity on international
travel protocols resulting from the pandemic.