S'pore travel agencies report high demand for New Zealand tours as borders fully reopen

From July 31, all travellers can enter New Zealand after it relaxed border curbs. PHOTO ILLUSTRATION: PEXELS

SINGAPORE - New Zealand is back on visitors' radar after it relaxed border curbs, with travel agents in Singapore reporting a surge in inquiries and bookings.

Travel agencies have also been receiving more calls in the past week, with some saying interest rose as much as 50 per cent compared with May, when New Zealand first allowed visitors from visa-free countries and territories, including Singapore.

From July 31, all travellers can enter.

EU Holidays marketing manager Mandy Chen said the agency saw bookings for New Zealand packages jump by 200 per cent, compared with August 2019.

These trips are mostly slated for November and December, when it will be summer there, she added.

"As most Singaporeans have not been travelling for the past two years, they have now set aside more budget to travel to premium destinations such as New Zealand," said Ms Chen.

The average cost of a New Zealand package from the agency has increased by at least 20 per cent, compared with pre-Covid-19 times, with customers paying between $3,600 and $4,500.

CTC Travel marketing manager Kelly Toh expects more bookings to be made during the Natas travel fair, which will be held at the Singapore Expo from Aug 12 to 14.

Its most popular New Zealand package offers the best of both the North and South islands, including Waitomo Caves and Arthur's Pass, over 11 days.

Chan Brothers Travel senior marketing communications manager Jeremiah Wong said that while demand for travel to New Zealand has been rising since its borders reopened, there are limited flights available.

To cope with that, the agency will be offering plans for non-direct flights via transfers at airports in Australia.

One traveller who has beaten the rush to head to New Zealand is Ms Xie Sijia, 29, who booked her 16-day trip in mid-May after finding out that Singaporeans could visit earlier that month.

"New Zealand tops my list as it offers many treks and trails," said the contracts manager, who is an avid hiker and is currently there to experience winter after "being stuck in Singapore for the past 2½ years".

"It was on both my partner's and my checklist for the longest time."

Fully vaccinated Singaporeans can enter New Zealand without quarantine but have to take two Covid-19 tests after arriving.

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