The travel industry is happy to be back to work as VTLs take off; remain optimistic despite Omicron
For example, tours will be smaller in size, with 20 or fewer travelers in each group. Travelers also prefer to have a more relaxed itinerary, with more outdoor and experiential activities.
Preparations before travel, such as passing the required COVID-19 polymerase chain reaction (PCR) tests and ensuring that the relevant documents are on hand, can be quite a nerve-wracking process, a Mr. Chen said. Coupled with ever-changing security protocols, going abroad can become quite intimidating for vacationers who just want to have a good time.
This is where travel agencies, which have fallen out of favor among young travelers in recent years, can step in, he added.
“Before the pandemic, the trend for free and easy vacations was affecting our business. But given the uncertainties of the pandemic, travel agencies have their own advantages, such as being able to handle everything for our customers, including last minute changes or unexpected scenarios, ”he said. “These are additional guarantees that we can offer. “
This is echoed by Mr. Ong and Mrs. Lim of Chan Brothers Travel.
“As a tour manager, my job is to make sure everything runs smoothly. For example, every day in Germany I make sure to check all the places of interest and the necessary sanitary requirements, ”Mr. Ong said.
“With the current situation, there are people who want to travel and want to have the assurance that abroad, every basic thing from start to finish will be taken care of by someone. be more prominent in the new standard.
STAY POSITIVE, DESPITE OMICRON
But since the launch of VTLs, COVID-19 infections have increased around the world and a new variant has emerged.
The Omicron variant has been detected in at least two dozen countries, including Singapore. Scientists are still collecting data to establish how contagious the highly mutated variant is and the severity of the disease it causes.
Yet many governments have responded by toughening travel rules. Singapore has announced that it is freezing all new VTLs and is suspending any easing of social restrictions. Stricter testing requirements for travelers have also been introduced.
Asked about Omicron’s impact on the fragile recovery of the local travel industry, Trade and Industry Minister Gan Kim Yong said at a press briefing on Nov. 30 that travelers could become “more cautious” with some deciding not to travel for the time being.
“We have yet to see the full impact of this Omicron variant and as we said, there is still a lot (about) this variant that we don’t know about. We are discovering even more information and the time will tell if this Omicron variant is likely to have any further impact on the travel industry.
“In the meantime, I think it’s important for us to take extra precautions to limit or mitigate the risk of imported cases,” said Mr. Gan, who is also the co-chair of the country’s COVID-19 task force.
“It’s also important for the long-term interests of the travel industry, because we want to make sure that if we were to open up, travel can be done safely. “