Tourism and hospitality players in Singapore are raring to go with new inbound and outbound campaigns, as the country’s travel bubble with Hong Kong is set to take off on May 26.
Launching packages targeted at incoming travellers, The Fullerton Hotel Singapore and Fullerton Bay Hotel will offer perks such as arrival champagne, limousine transfers and private dinners exclusively for Hong Kong guests.
They will also be treated to curated experiences including sustainable Fullerton Farm tours, immersive heritage walks, heritage cooking workshops and vintage sidecar tours of Singapore’s Civic District.
“We are delighted that we’ll finally be able to welcome guests from Hong Kong back to Singapore in style,” said Cavaliere Giovanni Viterale, general manager of The Fullerton Hotels & Resorts.
Preparations over the past year have also kept Singapore’s attractions well-positioned for the return of international tourists. Gardens by the Bay will this week open world-renowned artist Dale Chihuly’s first major garden exhibition in Asia, Dale Chihuly: Glass in Bloom, available from May 1 to August 1. Come August, Singapore will also welcome the first Museum of Ice Cream outside of the US.
In total, 46 attractions in Singapore have been approved to reopen with robust safe management measures in place, with capacity limits increased to 65 per cent. Also green-lit to resume operations are 277 hotels and more than 2,100 tour itineraries here. Local walking, kayaking and cycling tours can now take groups of up to 50 people, with no limit on duration.
Some travel agents are also casting a keen eye on the starved outbound market and its hunger for customised tour programmes. For instance, Dynasty Travel has conceptualised small group tour packages exploring “new and old Hong Kong” areas such as Hollywood Road and Canton Road, Ladder and Duddell Street, Lamma Island as well as hiking trails in nature parks.
“We are working closely with the Hong Kong Tourism Board to provide new travel experiences for our customers in the upcoming months. We are also providing seamless travel arrangements for our travellers as we collaborate with Raffles Medical and our overseas partners to provide pre- and post-departure PCR tests,” shared Alicia Seah, director, public relations & communications, Dynasty Travel.
While the trade is rife with preparations for inbound visitors, there still lies a cautious sentiment that this may not be a panacea for local tour operators in the short-term.
Seah explained: “The first wave of visitors to Hong Kong are travellers visiting friends, relatives and loved ones whom they have not seen for more than a year. There are also enquiries from travellers who are already vaccinated and keen to travel to anywhere once the borders are open; however, price and availability of air tickets are of concern since there are limited flights currently.”
Some also believe that the first waves of visitors from Hong Kong are not likely to make tour bookings. “Most of them have been here before, and will come here for food or to visit places on their own. They would not pay for tours, but for food,” said Jane Goh, director of Xperience Singapore DMC, which has a sister office in Hong Kong.
Along with Xperience Singapore DMC, local tour companies are currently kept busy with brimming domestic demand boosted by SingapoRediscover Vouchers, which expire in June.