Demand for Asia holds out against airfare hikes

EUROPEAN travellers remain unfazed by the spikes in flight prices due to the oil crisis.

Despite raising its fuel surcharge last week for the third time in four months, Singapore Airlines general manager of Germany, Austria, Central & Eastern Europe, Leslie Thng, said there had not been any significant drop in demand for travel during the popular June and July summer period.

In fact, sales figures for its Singapore Stopover Holiday packages for January to March had increased compared to the same period last year, he added.

Thailand’s Exotissimo Travel general manager for Germany, Pantanida Jantsakool, said: “Germans might complain about the increase in price but they know that a holiday in Asia is still cheaper than in Europe.”

Myanmar-based Golden Trip Travels & Tours director Tilly Sand added that the increases of between 20 euros (US$27.80) to 35 euros were still a small percentage of the total airfare into Asia from Europe, which is an average of 1,000 euros or more.

Singapore-based Star Holiday Mart managing director Dennis Law said there might be an “overall minimal impact of a few percentage loss” on Asia as the problems in the Middle East meant that the region was also gaining some diverted business.

Tour operators, however, pointed out that escalating fuel surcharges were likely to derail longhaul demand if the currency situation in Europe worsened and the inflation rates in Asia continued to climb.

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