FEWER Singaporeans will be heading to China and South Korea, two traditionally popular destinations for the June school holiday period that begins next Monday.
Like their Malaysian counterparts, Singapore outbound tour operators attributed the decline in interest to the earlier H7N9 scare in China and the ongoing political tussle between North and South Korea (TTG Asia e-Daily, May 27, 2013).
Chan Brothers Travel marketing and communications manager, Jane Chang, said: “Despite (the absence of) travel advisories from the Ministry of Foreign Affairs discouraging travel to China and South Korea, and the reassurance by tourism boards that everything is still running as per normal, the decline in sales for the June holidays is undeniable.”
She said the agency has witnessed a 30 per cent and 20 per cent dip in bookings for China and South Korea respectively, compared to the same period last year.
Similarly, CTC Travel senior vice president, marketing and PR, Alicia Seah, said demand for the two countries has fallen by 25 per cent year-on-year to the benefit of Japan, Taiwan and Australia, which have emerged as the most popular destinations this June.
Nevertheless, Seah feels that demand for China and South Korea would rise in the near future. “We are hopeful that (the current fall in bookings) will now build a pent-up demand among our travellers, especially now that the situation (in China and South Korea) seems to have settled and they can be confident of travelling there again.”
Seah predicts travel demand for China and South Korea will “definitely go up” for the next holiday period in December.