Singaporean travellers are taking advantage of the Chinese New Year (CNY) holidays to explore lesser-known destinations, observed travel agents.
Bookings for travel during CNY, which falls on February 16 and 17 this year, rose for shorthaul locations that offer adventure and scenic activities.
“We do see an increasing interest to explore ‘new’ destinations such as Sri Lanka and Myanmar,” said Callum Brown, general manager Flight Centre Asia.
He observed that demand for these places grew by 19 per cent between 2016 and 2017, outpacing the consistent year-on-year demand for traditional shorthaul destinations such as Bangkok, Bali and Phuket.
Increased awareness of “alternative nearby holiday destinations”, as well as international events such as Myanmar’s Bagan Temple Marathon are some of the factors which has encouraged travel to these countries, explained Brown.
Meanwhile, amid traditional shorthaul favourites, Klook noted there was a rising interest in Yogyakarta for activities such as Borobudur sunset tours, said Chuan Sheng Soong, Klook’s general manager Southeast Asia.
On the other end of the spectrum, EU Holidays has registered “a 20 per cent jump in travel to Europe this year compared to 2017”, observed Wong Yew Hoong, director of EU Holidays.
He explained: “This spans Central Europe, Spain and Portugal, Eastern Europe and the Balkans. The larger groups are going to Finland, Iceland and Norway on our signature Northern Lights packages. These groups are largely couples or working professionals who have a strong interest in photography.”
This comes despite the shorter CNY break this year, as these groups are banking on this period to enjoy snow activities and “avoid the year-end crowds in December”, opined Wong.
For the majority of Singaporean travellers, shorthaul destinations remain popular during the short CNY holiday. Brown said: “The perennial favourites like Bangkok and Bali are of course still the most requested.”
These destinations are especially popular with families, observed Wong, who also noted that they have “chosen to do more shorthaul trips in the region as their children do not have school holidays during this period”.