Singapore’s new “vaccinated travel lines” have sparked demand for flights as city-state residents want to take advantage of the easing of international travel measures.
According to Expedia Group, the search for cities called VTLs in Singapore has doubled and in some cases almost tripled. This came after government officials announced the opening of new routes for quarantine-free travel to Europe, North America and Asia.
Facilitate international travel
Last week, Singapore announced quarantine-free travel to South Korea from November 15 with Canada, Denmark, France, Italy, the Netherlands, Spain, the United Kingdom and the United States. vaccinated and must undergo Covid-19 testing to make sure they are not infected before entering the country.
The announcement marked a significant expansion of the island nation’s VTL program, which includes Germany and Brunei.
Following this news, interest in the search among Singaporeans has increased every week:
- Seoul, South Korea – 180%
- Vancouver, Canada – 160%
- Frankfurt, Germany – 130%
- London, United Kingdom – 120%
- Los Angeles, USA – 80%
Expedia’s managing director for Asia said the searches show a change in buyers ’demand for international travel. In August, Singapore’s most sought-after cities were regional hotspots such as Japan, Hong Kong, the Maldives and Taiwan.
Guests will walk through the terminal of Singapore Changi Airport on December 7, 2020.
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“VTLs have definitely influenced how people think about travel, where they want to travel, and how they plan their travels,” Choo Pin Ang told Capital Capital on Tuesday.
However, he added that he expects the popularity of traditional tourist destinations to increase with the announcement of additional tourism. Already in Singapore, searches for travel to VTL and non-VTL routes by the end of the year have tripled from June to October.
This is good news for the battered tourism industry. As of Wednesday, Singapore Airlines ’share price rose more than 9% last week, while SATS, which provides ground and in-flight service at Singapore’s Changi Airport, rose around 5%.
“Happy days have come again,” Amit Saberval, founder and CEO of RedDoorz, a Southeast Asian budget hotel chain, said on Wednesday. “Even though they’re the first days, I don’t think we’re going to go back to a state of retreat and people can’t travel … I think we need to shine again.”
The winds stay
According to Singaporean officials, the number of quarantine-free travel sections in the Asia-Pacific region is expected to increase in the coming months.
Australia, New Zealand and Japan, as well as some “home-close” countries in Southeast Asia, could be included, Ang said.
On Monday, Thailand announced plans to lift quarantine restrictions for vaccinated travelers from low-risk countries, including Singapore, from November.
“What determines whether VTL can work is the strong economic ties between Singapore and these countries, the level of vaccination, and what progress countries have made in mitigating Covid,” he said.
Still, the wind blows. He said that as travel restrictions are evolving and VTL’s daily arrivals to Singapore are close to 3,000, UK travelers need to be ‘quick’ by making flexible reservations and purchasing travel insurance to Covid before they leave.
– Shubangi Goel contributed to this report.