Travel experts report mixed performance at pre-NATAS fairs

DESPITE mainstream media reports that sales were mostly brisk during this year’s series of pre-NATAS consumer travel fairs, several travel company spokespersons whom TTG Asia e-Daily spoke to painted a different picture.

For instance, Chan Brothers Travel garnered a relatively muted response at its travel fair held at Suntec City on February 12, according to its marketing & communications manager, Jane Chang.

“Booking volume (during the fair) increased by about 10 per cent this year over 2011, which is well within our forecasts,” she said, adding that performance would have been better if not for the six rival companies holding their own fairs over the same weekend.

Eva Wu, marketing & communications manager of SA Tours, shared the same sentiment.

“Sales at our travel fair last weekend remained somewhat consistent (compared to) 2011. The management is satisfied with our performance, but we could have definitely achieved more if there wasn’t so much competition,” she said. “We hope to do better at the upcoming NATAS fair.”

On a more optimistic note, CTC Travel’s senior vice-president of marketing & public relations, Alicia Seah, is expecting the company’s overall business to soar by 40-50 per cent in the first half of 2012 compared to last year, based on strong sales figures at its travel fair held from February 11-12.

Seah estimates that business at the fair increased by 30-50 per cent compared to last year, with bookings for European destinations jumping by 15 per cent.

“Europe remains a top destination, not only because of the strong Singapore dollar, but also because of the overall reduction in prices for land tours and airfares. Travellers can now save as much as 30 per cent on European tour packages compared to 2011,” she said.

Europe was also a bright spot for Chan Brothers, with the company’s booking volume for the continent jumping by 30 per cent during its fair, “Singaporeans are still taking advantage of the strong Singapore dollar, and are venturing further afield, particularly on sea and river cruises,” said Chang.

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