STB campaign reminds travellers to buy insurance

A survey commissioned by the Singapore Tourism Board in 2016 found that about 20 per cent of the over 400 respondents did not buy travel insurance for their most recent trip.
A survey commissioned by the Singapore Tourism Board in 2016 found that about 20 per cent of the over 400 respondents did not buy travel insurance for their most recent trip.PHOTO: ST FILE

With two travel fairs coming up this month, the tourism authority is urging consumers to protect themselves against travel delays and sudden closures.

The Singapore Tourism Board (STB) launched a campaign on Monday to remind the public to buy travel insurance for their holidays. Three videos have been released as part of the You Think, I Thought, Who Confirm campaign.

A survey commissioned by the STB last year found that about 20 per cent of the over 400 respondents did not buy travel insurance for their most recent trip.

A common reason is the short length of the trip. Others said they felt their destinations were "low- risk" or did not see the relevance of travel insurance, said an STB spokesman. Insurance can act as a safeguard against agencies that go bust. Recent high-profile closures include S Travel last April and Sky Travel & Tours last December.

These left customers with paid-for but unfulfilled packages worth thousands of dollars.

According to STB, 68 travel agencies ceased operations last month. There are over 1,100 active agencies. In 2015, the STB added a licensing condition requiring travel agents to remind customers to buy insurance against agent insolvency.

The National Association of Travel Agents Singapore (Natas) will hold Natas Travel 2017 from tomorrow to Sunday at Singapore Expo Halls 7 and 8. Among the exhibitors are 33 travel agencies.

Its rival, the Singapore Outbound Travel Agents Association (Sotaa), will hold the Travel Revolution Fair from Feb 24 to 26 at the Sands Expo and Convention Centre halls A and B. Of its exhibitors, 16 are travel agencies. Sotaa has said that customers who buy packages at the fair are guaranteed a 100 per cent refund should the agency involved suddenly close down. "Sotaa has secured personal guarantees from directors of these travel agencies to hold them fully accountable," said Sotaa president Kay Swee Pin.

The Travel Revolution fair attracted 82,000 visitors over three days in February last year, while the Natas fair last March drew 58,000.

A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Straits Times on February 16, 2017, with the headline 'STB campaign reminds travellers to buy insurance'. Print Edition | Subscribe