Many asking about safety measures in destinations

Snaking queues were observed at the Singapore Airlines (SIA) service centre, and travel agencies were inundated with enquiries as Singaporeans rushed to make travel plans yesterday.

It was announced on Saturday that those who are vaccinated against Covid-19 can fly to Canada, Denmark, France, Italy, the Netherlands, Spain, Britain and the United States from Oct 19. They may also fly to South Korea from Nov 15.

But even as Singaporeans scrambled to secure travel itineraries, travel agents said many have also asked for more information about safe management practices in European countries.

Mr Jeremiah Wong, a spokesman for Chan Brothers Travel, said: "They've asked if there are any destinations that have handled the pandemic better and if there are any that might be safer for travelling. Some have also asked about the safe travel protocols that Chan Brothers Travel has put in place."

Ms Alicia Seah, a spokesman for Dynasty Travel, said it expects travel to pick up significantly by the first half of next year and added that some people may also be waiting for the initial price surge of flights to pass before firming up their travel plans.

The agencies said itineraries to South Korea appear to be in high demand.

Checks on the SIA site showed that while a return trip on economy class to Seoul would usually cost as little as $679, prices in November have surged on some days to more than $1,500.

Return trips to Italy, Netherlands and Spain were about $960 for economy seats.

But while demand is expected to increase in the coming weeks, the travel agencies appear to be waiting to see if that demand is sustained enough to justify increasing manpower.

Ms Kay Swee Pin, chief executive officer of SA Tours, said it has recalled only a small team of 10 staff so far.

Mr Wong said Chan Brothers Travel welcomes the positive outlook, but will have to see how the situation develops.

A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Straits Times on October 11, 2021, with the headline 'Many asking about safety measures in destinations'. Subscribe