AS early as 7 am, the first man was already in the queue - five hours before the Natas travel fair opened to the public at noon on Friday.
By 11.30 am, over 200 early birds were lining outside the two halls in Singapore Expo, hoping to grab bargain holidays at the fair organised by the National Association of Travel Agents Singapore (Natas), a sell-out event which is held twice a year.
This weekend's fair is the biggest to date, with over 150 exhibitors taking up 1,025 booths.
Parents with children in prams, elderly folks on walking sticks, the well-dressed executive, Singaporeans of all walks headed down to the fair to suss out the best travel deals.
Natas chief executive officer Robert Khoo was surprised at the 7 am turnout in the queue.
He said: 'Really? So far, 7 am is unheard of. Usually the queues start half an hour before the doors open'.
The first man in the line, a 56-year-old retiree who would only give his name as Mr Tan said he was there to check out deals for a winter holiday in Hokkaido.
Through the day, crowds thronged the fair, undeterred by rising fuel surcharges and other inflationary pressures that have hogged the newspaper headlines in recent months. The mood among the bargain hunters and travel agents was upbeat.
Natas president William Tan said: 'While travel seems to be the first thing Singaporeans forgo when times are bad, it is also the first thing they crave when things get better.'
The fair runs from today till Sunday at Singapore Expo, Halls 4 and 5.