An increasing number of Singaporean travellers are venturing to further-flung destinations in Eastern Europe and Africa, driven by a growing desire for exotic experiences, reported agents at the Travel Revolution: The Event consumer fair which took place over the weekend.
Destinations in hot demand include Turkey, Morocco, Madagascar and Ukraine, where sightseeing and cultural experiences are big draws.
CTC Travel’s head of department, marketing & public relations, Kelly Toh, said: “Turkey is becoming an evergreen (destination). We get a lot of bookings for Turkey – our customers like the different scenery and culinary experiences.”
To enhance the appeal of these destinations and attract more customers, some agencies have rolled out unique packages that add a new dimension to exotic travel. For example, CTC Travel has been marketing “celebrity” tours with the company’s managing director as the tour guide.
Chan Brothers Travel, on the other hand, has introduced more niche tours for hobby groups such as photography tours, and is cashing in on the burgeoning popularity of the Balkans to promote river cruises down the River Rhine and Danube River.
Nam Ho Travel’s consultant Joe Lim observed: “We have to offer exotic tours like gourmet trips in Eastern Europe – places that customers wouldn’t be able to plan by themselves.”
With self-guided tours on the rise, agencies are creating hybrid tours to lure customers back – such tours provide added value for travellers who do not wish to participate in large group tours.
“Many customers no longer want to join group tours where they have to wake up early every day, or spent a limited amount of time at attractions. So we have launched flexi-tours, where we arrange the itinerary for travellers and they can take the tour at their own pace,” said CTC Travel’s Toh.
She shared that flexi-tours pushed out by the tour agency have become so popular that returning customers have went on to book tours in destinations such as Taiwan, Japan, South Korea and Australia that could have been easily booked online.