Singapore outbound travel to US gains traction

Thanks to an increase in direct flight connections and destination awareness, the US is gaining traction among Singaporean travellers, reported travel agents here.

Agents at the National Association of Travel Agents Singapore (NATAS) Travel Fair last weekend reported an uptick in travel interest to the US. Dynasty Travel has received 50 per cent more bookings, while CTC Travel saw 20 per cent more enquiries from its customers.

Singapore outbound agents are seeing a spike in bookings for the US, which they say is in part driven by better connections and competitive airfares

“We had customers coming in with another destination in mind, but when we told them about the promotional airfares to the US, they chose that instead,” said Vivian Lee, general manager of Euro-Asia Holidays.

At the NATAS Travel Fair, Singapore Airlines rolled out exclusive discounted airfares through 18 agents on all of its flights, including Los Angeles and New York.

Lee observed that the Singapore market is “more price sensitive”, and has a long-held perception of the US as an inaccessible and expensive destination.

However, with the growing roster of flight connections to the US, Euro-Asia Holidays can now offer a diverse range of airline partners such as Singapore Airlines, Cathay Pacific and Emirates, she said.

Better US representation in Singapore has also lifted the destination’s profile. In October last year, New York City’s official destination marketing organisation, NYC & Company, set up shop in Singapore – a move that has helped bring the US into the light, remarked James Wong, sales & marketing manager (MICE), Farmosa Holiday Tour.

“The US has been quiet for the past few years, but now with NYC & Company’s office in Singapore, at least the we can learn more about the new things New York City has to offer, and have someone to approach if we have questions,” explained Wong.

NYC & Company yesterday began its first South-east Asia trade mission in Singapore, followed by pitstops in Kuala Lumpur and Manila.

During this trade mission, the organisation will conduct training and networking sessions between travel agents and NYC & Company partners, namely Hudson Yards, The Museum of Modern Art, Tour America and Wyndham Garden Brooklyn Sunset Park Hotel New York.

The priority of this trade mission is to educate local tour operators about the wealth of offerings in New York City beyond the usual sights, said Ee Lian Lee, account director, South-east Asia representative office, NYC & Company.

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