Increase in inquiries, bookings from Germany for vaccinated trips to S’pore, Economy News & Top Stories

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SINGAPORE – German tourists seem to think Singapore could be the ticket to their next vacation due to inquiries from operators in the besieged hotel industry.

The new Vaccinated Travel Lane (VTL) for German visitors that debuted earlier this month continues to generate substantial interest, according to industry players.

The travel platform Expedia told the Straits Times that bookings made on the Expedia Germany platform for travel to Singapore increased by more than 70% after the official announcement of the VTL compared to the average of the seven previous days.

Bookings made under the VTL deal also have average stays of seven nights or more, said Ms. Lavinia Rajaram, Expedia’s communications manager for Asia-Pacific.

“As travelers are more inclined to choose a longer length of stay, the hospitality industry is also looking for ways to offer attractive packages to travelers, which include discounts on attractions around the island or on their respective hotel services. such as catering or spa. She added.

“The hotels have also placed an emphasis on the safety of guests, many of whom are SG Clean certified or have clearly published their health and hygiene protocols.”

A Trip.com spokesperson added that it had also seen an increase in inquiries and bookings from travelers in Singapore and Germany in recent weeks, reflecting pent-up demand for leisure travel.

“We expect to receive more bookings in the coming months and we will work with our partners to launch packages to promote travel between the two countries,” he said.

A spokesperson for the German embassy said it had seen a “consistently high volume of inquiries” from potential travelers and travel agencies since VTL’s announcement. The embassy is also constantly updating its website to provide information and advice, he said.

Singapore Hotel Association President Kwee Wei-Lin said, “VTL is an important first step in gradually resuming non-quarantine travel.

“While the impact is not significant at this early stage, SHA and our members welcome the announcement of these VTLs and the implication of an increase in international tourist arrivals soon. travel restrictions, we hope more VTLs will be established in the coming weeks. “

SHA has also added a VTL page to its website to provide a one-stop resource for these travelers.

The ST understands that the Pan Pacific hotel group has seen inquiries and reservations gradually coming in from German travelers.

The hotel is also working with third-party partners, travel agents and online platforms to develop exclusive rates for VTL travelers and extend various promotions to their German customers.

Ms. Cinn Tan, hotel sales and marketing manager, said: “Pan Pacific Hotels Group is anxiously awaiting the sky reopening, welcoming … travelers to Singapore. This has been long overdue since the ‘global lockdown “more than 18 months since.”

She added that the hotel group is exploring a partnership with the Singaporean-German Chamber of Commerce and Industry to reach German corporate customers.

Hotels have created dedicated check-in counters and floors assigned to VTL customers.

Meanwhile, Wyndham Hotels and Resorts Asia-Pacific President Ooi Joon Aun said, “Our hotels in Singapore have been successful in preserving the jobs of our hotel team members, choosing to redeploy them to other roles. internally and will be able to reassign them with roles once the demand for travel increases, ”he said.

News of a possible opening of non-quarantine travel is indeed good news for Singapore hotels, which have suffered from low occupancy rates this year.

Due to phase 2 (heightened alert) and group size restrictions, occupancy was on average 52% in June during school holidays, according to the Singapore Tourism Board, a sharp drop by compared to 62% last December.

Occupancy rates also remained below 50 percent in the first two quarters of this year, as they hit 58 percent in the fourth quarter of last year and 65 percent in the third quarter after lifting. of the circuit breaker.

Ms Kwee said: “Our initial optimism about domestic demand during the June school holidays has been offset by recent restrictions. Instead of healthy occupations, our members have been faced with booking cancellations for stays and experiences. culinary. “

Mr Arthur Kiong, Managing Director of Far East Hospitality, said: “We have to keep in mind that domestic demand, even according to optimistic projections, is far removed from hotels reaching pre-Covid occupancy and capacity.

“The market is simply too small for the number of hotel rooms available. It can fill about 5% to 10% of the total available rooms and inventory on an annual basis, while hotels, in general, require about 40% occupancy before pandemic rates to cover the cost of accommodation. ‘exploitation. “


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