Bangkok blast

Most travel agencies in S'pore report little impact

Passersby browsing at tour packages of Travel GSH in People's Park Centre.
Passersby browsing at tour packages of Travel GSH in People's Park Centre. PHOTO: ST FILE

A local travel agency told The Straits Times yesterday that around 60 per cent of some 150 customers who are due to fly to Bangkok next month have requested to go elsewhere in the wake of Monday night's bombing.

Dynasty Travel said that most of these requests are from corporate groups who have asked for their destinations to be switched to other countries such as Malaysia, Indonesia and Vietnam.

However, other travel companies said they have not seen much impact on travel plans.

Singapore Airlines (SIA) said it received "a couple of requests" to cancel tickets for flights to the Thai capital.

The airline will waive fees for re-bookings or re-routings for customers holding confirmed tickets on its flights arriving in or departing from Bangkok, for tickets issued on or before Aug 18.

Low-cost carrier Scoot has a similar arrangement for bookings made on or before Aug 17.

A Scoot spokesman also said that customers can visit the website, www.changeyourflight.com, to obtain a partial refund in the form of a voucher if they do not wish to travel.

Four out of five travel agencies told The Straits Times that they had not received any requests for changes to upcoming bookings.

Chan Brothers Travel has more than 20 customers scheduled to travel to Bangkok from yesterday until the end of the month, but has not had any requests to cancel or postpone trips, said its head of marketing communications Jane Chang. She said that tourists seem to be adopting a "wait-and-see approach", adding: "It's no longer a knee-jerk reaction as would have been the case five years ago."

Singapore's Embassy in Thailand and the Ministry of Foreign Affairs (MFA) have advised Singaporeans travelling to or residing in Thailand to avoid the explosion site and monitor the local news. Travel agencies advise travellers to register with MFA, no matter where they are travelling to.

The explosion is known to have killed 20 people, including one Singaporean.

Some travellers are not taking the risk.

"We're travelling for leisure, so to put our hearts at ease, we're looking at other destinations," said marketing and communications manager Bernadette Low, 39, who was due to fly to Bangkok next Thursday with two friends.

"It looks like they're targeting tourists, so we think it's safer to avoid Thailand altogether for now. It's a shame."

A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Straits Times on August 19, 2015, with the headline 'Most travel agencies in S'pore report little impact'. Print Edition | Subscribe