The Singapore Tourism Board (STB) has launched a public education campaign to promote greater awareness on precautions Singaporeans should take to protect themselves against unforeseen circumstances when booking their holidays.
Ahead of the country’s two main consumer fairs NATAS and Travel Revolution this month, the campaign introduces the message “Don’t Travel Blur, Travel Sure” through redubbed snippets of the popular local drama series, The Unbeatables.
The campaign encourages Singaporeans to perform three crucial steps when booking their travels: (1) always buy travel insurance, and for those going through an agency, ensure coverage for insolvency; (2) check if the travel agent is licensed via the Travel Related Users’ System (TRUST) website; and (3) read through terms and conditions (T&Cs) and clarify any doubts with travel providers.
A recent study commissioned by STB found that among those who bought travel packages, almost everyone (97 per cent, up from 93 per cent in 2016) is aware of travel insurance.
Although the percentage of respondents who have purchased travel insurance before has grown, one in 10 still have never ever purchased a travel insurance policy.
And while there were some improvements in attitude towards buying travel insurance, short duration of trips and perceived ‘low-risk’ destinations remain the most cited reasons for not buying travel insurance, at 38 per cent and 28 per cent respectively.
Elaborating on how risk perceptions might not accurately reflect real risks, Gany Subramaniam, senior vice president, head of personal insurance, South-east Asia, at AIG Asia Pacific Insurance, said: “(Last year), we noted that three in four claims made were for medical expenses for policyholders travelling to neighbouring countries like Malaysia. Likewise, some might perceive Australia as a low-risk destination, but our data shows that one in two claims made were primarily medical claims for policyholders travelling to Australia.
“Clearly, no matter where or how far consumers are travelling to, they are susceptible to destination risks. We encourage travellers to take the necessary precautions such as buying travel insurance to protect themselves from unforeseen circumstances.”
The survey also found a slight increase in awareness of the travel agent insolvency clause in travel insurance policies, but the number remains low at only one in four. Again, the perceived low risk of a travel agent closing down was the main barrier to purchasing travel insurance with an insolvency clause.
Results also showed that one in four respondents still do not check if their travel agent is licensed.
The survey further found that less than half of the respondents are reading and clarifying T&Cs, and this is more evident among older travellers.
Among the T&Cs that consumers should pay attention to, STB highlighted quality of packages, refund/cancellation policies, and what the trip itinerary entails.
STB’s survey, conducted from September to October 2017, aims to assess the perception and behaviours of 600 Singaporeans who had purchased travel packages from a travel agent in the past year.