Singaporeans look farther afield for holidays and spending

Shah-I-Zinda memorial complex, a UNESCO World Heritage Site in Samarkand, Uzbekistan

Outbound travellers from Singapore are coming to tour planners with higher budgets and interest in farther-flung destinations, revealed travel agencies at the National Association of Travel Agents Singapore (NATAS) Holidays 2018 fair last weekend.

Such travellers, which can range from young families to older couples, are more willing to spend more time and money on “in-depth” experiences in less-explored destinations, shared Wong Yew Hoong, director of EU Holidays.

Shah-I-Zinda memorial complex, a UNESCO World Heritage Site in Samarkand, Uzbekistan

“The average spending power of the customer has increased a lot compared to 10 years ago. Our premium packages are selling much better than our cost-saver packages,” he observed.

An emerging trend is chartered flights, which EU Holidays has rolled out to destinations like Bhutan and Uzbekistan. Hokkaido is another popular choice for year-end winter travel.

Repeat visitors, in particular, are scheduling more vacation time to enjoy mono-destination travel, said Wong. For instance, the agency has rolled out a 10-day train travel package through Switzerland.

Japan National Tourism Organization’s executive director, Singapore, Katsufumi Sato, noted that Singaporeans are becoming increasingly adventurous with their travels in Japan, choosing to explore regions outside of Tokyo and Osaka, such as Mie and Nagoya, due to increased accessibility through direct trains and flights.

Dynasty Travel has also rolled out new add-on tour packages to complement its popular 15-day charter cruises to Antarctica, allowing travellers to visit nearby destinations such as Brazil, Chile and Argentina. Such packages can run up to 29 days.

As a result, this trend is paralleled by a demand for higher-quality local experiences, noted Alicia Seah, Dynasty’s director of public relations & communications. For example, its latest tour to Australia’s Red Centre includes a sunset viewing and barbecue dinner at Uluru Rock, and a trip to Israel includes a Shabbat dinner with a Jewish family in their home.

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