With the 2017 Chinese New Year celebrating the year of the rooster just around the corner, Singapore outbound agents are reporting healthy travel demand despite a dismal economy.
Attributing the strong Singapore dollar as one of the key factors driving demand, Chan Brothers Travel's spokesperson Joyce Tan said: “Regardless of a good or bad economy, there are always good travel offerings or forex savings to be mined for the prudent traveller.”
Despite not seeing a significant uptick in booking numbers, the fact that Singaporeans are still able to travel for long stretches of up to 13 days are encouraging signs in a weak economy, noted Issac Ng, spokesperson at ASA Holidays, adding that regional countries like Malaysia and Thailand are most sought after.
This strong wanderlust, remarked Dynasty Travel's managing director Clifford Neo, is because "travel has become a lifestyle among Singaporeans". But travellers may tweak their itineraries accordingly, oping for shorter trips or destinations that they have stronger buying power like Japan, Australia and Malaysia, he added.
But as this Chinese New Year falls shortly after the recent year-end holidays, Neo does not see an exponential increase in the number of outbound travellers for the upcoming festive season, especially for the longhaul destinations, as many had just taken their long breaks.
Meanwhile, regional cruises are especially popular for Chan Brothers, according to Tan, hiking 20 to 30 per cent in demand from the last Chinese New Year. She said: “Cruises offer the opportunity for multi-generational families to travel together due to the convenience and proximity of onboard accommodation and facilities.”
In its latest campaign, Jetstar Asia is encouraging travellers to stay home during this celebratory period to be with their loved ones by waiving all change fees and fare difference for passengers who decide to move their flight departures on January 27 and 28.