More booths at Natas travel fair
You may have to take more than one trip to the upcoming fair to check out all the offers. -ST
by Teo Wan Gek
You may have to take more than one trip to the upcoming Natas travel fair to check out all the offers.
Singapore may be facing a downturn, but the 121 exhibitors at the fair have gone ahead to book 3 per cent more booths from last year.
Mr Robert Khoo, chief executive of the National Association of Travel Agents Singapore (Natas), said more than half of the over 900 booths were snapped up when they were first offered last October.
The event will be held at the Singapore Expo from Feb 27 to March 1.
'We believe Singaporeans will still travel despite the recession,' he said.
Still, no one knows for sure how the recession will affect the business. But many travel agencies expect customers to switch to more affordable, short-haul trips.
Sino-America Tours, for example, is already seeing that trend. It had a 17 per cent rise in bookings for travel within Asia in the last two months.
We are mentally prepared for a slowdown, but travel within Asia could also give rise to more frequent trips. This could compensate for the dip in demand for longer-haul destinations,' said Ms Ruth Lim, Sino-America Tours' marketing and communications manager.
To drum up business, at least three travel agencies have been holding fairs over the weekend. At the one held by CTC Holidays in Suntec Galleria, the firm said there was still interest in longer-haul destinations.
'We anticipate that long-haul bookings will suffer, but we don't see that happening just yet. In fact, many have expressed interest in tours to Europe. It could be because Europe is now more affordable, with air fares and lodging costs reduced,' said Ms Alicia Seah, CTC's senior vice-president for marketing and public relations.
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