Downsized travel fair still crowd-puller

The Travel Revolution Fair drew 80,000 visitors over the weekend, nearly on a par with levels last year. Some exhibitors, including Chan Brothers, reported an increase in sales.
The Travel Revolution Fair drew 80,000 visitors over the weekend, nearly on a par with levels last year. Some exhibitors, including Chan Brothers, reported an increase in sales.PHOTO: NIVASH JOYVIN FOR THE STRAITS TIMES

Several firms at Travel Revolution get more deals even after 14 agencies rejoin rival event

Despite losing half its exhibitors to a rival fair, the Travel Revolution Fair has drawn an estimated 80,000 visitors over the past three days, nearly on a par with last year's attendance of 82,000.

Several agencies also said they sold more deals than they did last year, against their expectations.

The biannual fair at the Sands Expo and Convention Centre had to downsize from three halls to two, after 14 travel agencies that took part in previous editions left to rejoin the fair organised by the National Association of Travel Agents Singapore (Natas).

The Natas fair, held the previous weekend, saw 111,000 visitors, nearly double the number last year.

Travel Revolution organiser Singapore Outbound Travel Agents Association (Sotaa) was formed in May 2015 by tour agencies that pulled out of Natas' twice-yearly fairs to hold their own.

Still, six of the remaining 13 agencies at Travel Revolution interviewed by The Straits Times said yesterday their sales had not taken a hit. Chan Brothers Travel, one of the major players who chose to stay, said yesterday afternoon that it was on target to have achieved at least $20 million in sales over the three days, double last year's figure.

Mr Benny Ho, director of Apple Holidays, said sales rose by up to 25 per cent compared with last year's, which was better than expected.

LGE Travel sold nearly half its year-end tours for the Northern Lights, while overall sales went up by about 20 per cent, said managing director Ken See.

"We thought sales would go down but there were more people who came to buy," he added.

SA Tours managing director Kay Swee Pin estimated that sales rose by about 15 per cent compared with last year's.

Ms Kay, who is also Sotaa president, said: "I didn't know what to expect but we did a lot better than I expected. Maybe with fewer exhibitors, there was less competition."

European destinations were hot sellers at the fair whose other exhibitors included Singapore Airlines and Wanderlust Market.

Project coordinator Theodora Koh, 27, who was shopping yesterday for a deal to Croatia, said there were fewer travel agencies at the fair than she had expected. "The crowds and space at Natas last weekend were bigger," she noted.

But sales assistant Janice Low, 38, said: "I don't mind that it's smaller - if it's too big with too many booths, it can get overwhelming, and choosing gets hard."

A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Straits Times on February 27, 2017, with the headline 'Downsized travel fair still crowd-puller'. Print Edition | Subscribe