Some S'poreans who booked Europe trips still set on going despite worsening Covid-19 situation there

People dining near Piazza di Spagna in Rome on Oct 29, 2021. Some travel companies have seen a few cancellations of European trips.
People dining near Piazza di Spagna in Rome on Oct 29, 2021. Some travel companies have seen a few cancellations of European trips.ST PHOTO: LIM YAOHUI

SINGAPORE - Industry players here 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, took off on Thursday (Nov 25) with his wife for an 11-day trip to Italy.

He said that while they were concerned about the worsening situation in Europe, the cases seem 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, felt the same way. She 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 about 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, the director of EU Holidays, a tour package provider, said that the company 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.