TWO weeks after news surfaced of Singapore’s major outbound travel agencies opting out of next year’s NATAS Travel Fair, it was announced today they will instead be holding their own travel fair on the same dates.
Some 24 outbound travel agencies including key players like Chan Brothers Travel, Dynasty Travel, CTC Travel, and Nam Ho Travel, have confirmed their participation instead in the new Outbound Travel Fair which will be held at Marina Bay Sands from March 27 to 29 next year.
Speaking during a media conference this morning, Anthony Chan, group managing director of Chan Brothers Travel who represents the working committee of the new fair, said: “One of the key changes we have in the new travel fair is that admission is free because we want to attract people to visit us and the new central location will be very convenient too,” he explained.
Perry Neo, chairman of Dynasty Travel, who also represents the working committee, said: “We want to serve both business players and consumers better with this option, and whatever cost we save, we want to pass it on to the consumer.”
More outbound travel players will be invited to participate in the new fair, which will span across 17,000m2 or 70 per cent of the floor area of NATAS Travel Fair 2015.
Admission fees for the public and costs were among the reasons raised during the media conference for the breakaway from NATAS.
On the topic, Chan also cited a lack of transparency, booth rental costs and “lacklustre” publicity efforts for the show which have led to declining visitorship as pain points.
These issues were raised in a petition to NATAS in October this year, according to Chan, but NATAS’ reply did not address them adequately.
The association has not publicly commented on the pull-out.
However, Neo said: “NATAS is definitely a better platform for such travel shows and we are open for discussion with them…as long as they can take good care of all their members, we are ready to talk to them.”
The most recent NATAS fair was held in September and featured 1,226 booths and 165 exhibitors, drawing over 56,000 visitors during its three-day run.