For this year’s Chinese New Year holidays (February 10 to 12), more residents in Singapore are taking advantage of the long weekend and heading overseas.
Two major travel agencies in the country have noticed a surge in outbound bookings over the festive period, with China emerging as a top destination of choice.
“We’ve observed a substantial 20 per cent increase in outbound demand compared to the previous year,” said Diana Tan, head of HR & public relations, CTC Travel. Apart from China, other preferred destinations include South Korea, Japan and Taiwan, she added.
Jeremiah Wong, senior marketing communications manager, Chan Brothers Travel, noted a spike in bookings to China over coming holidays, following the introduction of the 30-day visa-free entry for Singapore passport-holders. Demand was also fuelled by the agency’s new tours to China which feature premium accommodation and thematic experiences.
The company has about 1,500 customers booked to travel over Chinese New Year. There are still last minute bookings coming in, and it expects demand to exceed last year’s by 40 per cent.
Short cruises of two to four nights around the region also contributed to bookings during the Chinese New Year period, a trend observed by both agencies.
“There is a noticeable trend among travellers who are opting for short getaways such as regional cruises to Malaysia and Thailand, allowing them to simply pack and sail away. These travellers aim to capitalise on the public holidays and long weekend, maximising their time off without needing to use additional annual leave,” Wong explained.
People are also venturing farther for “diverse experiences”, with CTC Travel’s Tan highlighting Egypt and Morocco as favourites among younger travellers.
Australia and Bhutan programmes are performing well for Chan Brothers Travel, with the former attracting families with young children and the latter appealing to those “seeking distinctive and exotic travel experiences”.
Commenting on Bhutan’s potential, Wong said: “We have resumed chartered flight tours since 2022 after border reopening and positive word-of-mouth has favourably impacted overall Bhutan bookings including for the Chinese New Year period this year.”