Travel agencies in S'pore see surge in inquiries after announcement of Japan tourism trial

Japan has always ranked among the top three travel destinations for Singaporeans. PHOTO: PEXELS

SINGAPORE - Travel agencies are seeing a surge in inquiries even as some await more details, such as the number of people allowed in each tour group, after the Japan Tourism Agency announced Singapore is one of four countries from which travellers can enter the country on package tours on a trial basis.

Since the announcement on Tuesday (May 17), CTC Travel has received over 20 inquiries about travel to Japan. Most were about year-end travel.

Japan has always ranked among the top three travel destinations for Singaporeans, said Ms Kelly Toh, marketing manager of CTC Travel. She said: "We have been telling our customers to wait a while and we will update them once we have more details."

Under the trial, predetermined itineraries for package tours must be approved by the government, with visitors accompanied by a tour guide at all times.

Mr Jeremiah Wong, senior marketing communications manager of Chan Brothers Travel, said that inquiries and interest on Japan tours have been streaming in exponentially with the announcement.

The travel agency will be launching a small group tour series with fixed itineraries by this week. The group size will be capped at nine travellers and is expected to depart from end June or early July.

Mr Hor Xinrong, a 38-year-old private tutor, said it was prudent of the Japanese government to open up to tourism in a measured manner.

Mr Lee Kwok Onn, 36, however, is not rushing to book a trip as he feels that the Japanese government is not ready to fully reopen its borders. The designer, who would rather not go on a package tour, said: "I enjoy having that freedom of movement, without having to follow a strictly planned travel itinerary."

In response to media queries, a spokesman for Japan Airlines said it welcomed this initiative as leading to the revitalisation of the local economy.

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