Bookings for flights out of Singapore, as well as overseas accommodation, more than doubled as of Friday (25 March), just a day after the country announced that it would reopen its borders to all fully vaccinated travellers.

Among the slew of border measures announced – which take effect from 11.59pm on Mar 31 – all fully vaccinated travellers, as well as children aged 12 and below, will be able to enter Singapore with just a pre-departure Covid-19 test.

In addition, fully vaccinated travellers from Malaysia entering Singapore via private vehicles through the land borders are not required to do pre-departure or on-arrival tests.

The new simplified framework will replace the existing vaccinated travel lanes (VTLs) and unilateral opening arrangements and instead, classify countries and regions into either the general travel or the restricted category.

Data provided by regional online travel platform Traveloka showed a surge in demand for flights and hotels following the announcement, with a 152 percent increase in average search volume and a 227 percent in average booking volume.

Similarly, online travel giant Expedia said it had also seen a doubling of flight searches when compared to a day before the announcement was made.

It added that New York, Tokyo, Bangkok and London, were among the top most-searched destinations on its website.

Increasing trend expected to continue

With the relaxation of Singapore’s border measures, travel agencies told CNA that they are expecting a further surge in bookings, particularly for outbound travel, due to pent-up demand.

Luxury travel specialist Intriq Journey, which focuses on exotic destinations, said it received two confirmed bookings immediately after the announcement on Thursday.

However, prior to this, it had already observed a high demand for bespoke vacations to countries under Singapore’s vaccinated travel lane (VTL) scheme.

The company had started a recruitment drive for local talents earlier this year to cope with the increasing demand and volume of enquiries.

“We anticipate even greater demand and inquiries in the coming days,” said the company’s co-founder Jess Yap, adding that she expects that enquiries will “easily” double very soon.

Meanwhile, local firm Chan Brothers said there will be greater confidence to travel, with the Government’s announcement that fully vaccinated travellers will not have to bear the costs of their Covid-19 medical bills or treatment if they test positive after returning to Singapore.

The company – which has seen a 50 percent surge in enquires since Thursday – said it is planning to increase the frequency of its tours and offer trips to more destinations.

“We will retain our smaller-group size at a maximum of 25 per group and (safe travelling) protocols to ensure that our customers can continue to travel fuss-free and safely with an absolute peace of mind,” said the company’s senior marketing communications manager Jeremiah Wong.


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