Some S'porean travellers not deterred by Covid-19 situation in Europe

Industry players in Singapore said the rising number of Covid-19 cases in Europe did not appear to deter would-be travellers, while Singaporeans who have made bookings told The Straits Times they intend to proceed with their trips.

The Travel Corporation, a global firm specialising in travel, has seen a 204 per cent increase in inquiries to destinations under the Vaccinated Travel Lane (VTL) scheme, with more interest in countries such as Spain and Germany.

The scheme allows vaccinated travellers from eligible countries quarantine-free entry into Singapore.

European countries currently under the scheme are Denmark, Italy, France, Germany, Spain, Switzerland, the Netherlands and Britain.

Marketing manager Karan Tuli, 37, set off yesterday on an 11-day trip to Italy with his wife. He said that while they were concerned about the worsening situation in Europe, the cases seemed under control in Italy.

"It's going to be a risk anywhere we choose to fly to," said Mr Tuli.

"The only thing that would have swayed our decision is if we had to be quarantined upon arrival in Italy... That would defeat the purpose of the vacation."

Ms Kaitlin Yeoh, a 24-year-old consulting analyst, said she would stick with her travel plans despite her parents' concern about Europe's Covid-19 situation.

Ms Yeoh, who will head to Spain in two weeks, said: "I haven't travelled in a long time, and I was really looking forward to the trip with my boyfriend. So I'm choosing to go."

Uncertainty has also been further cushioned by some insurers in Singapore such as HL Assurance. It said it has promotions for its travel insurance to encourage Singaporeans to travel again during the holiday season.

"People are less cautious about travelling now, but at the same time, they're more willing to buy insurance," said Mr Kelvin Lim, chief executive of the insurance firm.

While the demand for travel to Europe continues to be promising, some travel companies have seen a few cancellations.

Mr Ong Han Jie, director of EU Holidays, a tour package provider, said the company has received two calls from Singaporeans asking to postpone their trip abroad.

However, the director remains confident that the demand for European travel will still be strong, with more than 100 people booking VTL tours each week.

He added: "Many of our customers told us that they have had their third (Covid-19 vaccine) jab in preparation for year-end travelling. So they are not too worried about the situation overseas.

"The confidence Singaporeans have in travel is still strong."

• Additional reporting by Anjali Raguraman

Correction note: An earlier version of this story mentioned the company Hong Leong Insurance. This has been corrected to HL Assurance. 

A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Straits Times on November 26, 2021, with the headline 'Some S'porean travellers not deterred by Covid-19 situation in Europe'. Subscribe