Still booking trips, but more opting for destinations closer to home

Crowds at the Travel Revolution fair on Aug 21, 2016.
Crowds at the Travel Revolution fair on Aug 21, 2016.PHOTO: ST FILE

She received a smaller bonus and a marginal pay rise, and then quit her job in July.

But that did not stop Ms Winnie Choy, 30, from going on a 22-day trip to Europe last month.

Ms Choy, who has since found a new job as a garment merchandiser, said she went ahead with her trip since she "had already saved money for it".

Despite the weaker economic outlook, Singaporeans are still booking trips and going on holidays, thanks in part to the stronger Singapore dollar, travel industry players said. But they warned that this may change if the economic situation worsens.

The National Association of Travel Agents Singapore said travellers are taking advantage of the favourable exchange rates to head to destinations such as Australia and Europe, which were more costly to visit in the past.

But it added: "As leisure travel is considered a luxury, not an everyday consumable, if the economic situation worsens, there will definitely be a slowdown in bookings.


"Having said that, Singaporeans will continue to travel and may then go for shorter holidays or nearer destinations."

Dynasty Travel has noticed more families opting for destinations closer to home such as Taiwan and China for the year-end holidays.

"But we don't see a strong slowdown in bookings for the year end. Travel has been made more affordable with low-cost carriers and full-service airlines lowering fares," noted its director of marketing communications Alicia Seah.

A spokesman for travel agency Chan Brothers Travel said demand for trips to Japan has grown by 20 per cent year on year, while bookings to South Korea have since rebounded after an infectious disease outbreak last year.

A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Straits Times on October 12, 2016, with the headline 'Still booking trips, but more opting for nearer destinations'. Print Edition | Subscribe