ForwardKeys: Flight bookings surge to Singapore ahead of VTL ticket freeze

By Charlotte Turner |

The TFWA Asia Pacific Exhibition is due to return to Singapore’s Marina Bay Sands Convention Centre in May.

The TFWA Asia Pacific Exhibition is due to return to Singapore’s Marina Bay Sands Convention Centre in May.

A new report from ForwardKeys reveals there was a surge in flight bookings to and from Singapore on 22 December last month, as travellers rushed to beat the suspension of Singapore’s Vaccinated Travel Lanes (VTLs), implemented to curb the spread of the Omicron variant.

 

As reported, TFWA plans to host the TFWA Asia Pacific Exhibition & Conference at Singapore’s Marina Bay Sands Convention Centre in May.

 

“Singapore has opened up a number of vaccinated travel lanes and we understand that more of these lanes will be added over the course of the coming months. A testing regime will be in place for visitors and exhibitors. Once again, we are working on this with the Singaporean authorities,” said TFWA President, Erik Juul-Mortensen in an online press conference recently.

 

The VTLs were introduced in early September, allowing vaccinated travellers to Singapore to avoid being subject to a stay-home notice if they instead underwent multiple Covid PCR tests. By late December, Singapore had VTLs in place with 24 countries.

 

VTL FREEZE ON 22 DECEMBER

Bing Han Kee, VP Sales – APAC at ForwardKeys, said: “The vaccinated travel lanes have been incredibly helpful in facilitating travel to and from Singapore, as seven of the top ten origin markets and nine of the top ten destinations are VTL countries.”

 

While VTL lanes are frozen until 21 January, TFWA understands that more of these lanes will be added over the course of the coming months.

While there is currently a freeze on VTL ticket sales until 21 January, TFWA understands that more of these lanes will be added over the course of the coming months, ahead of the TFWA Asia Pacific Exhibition which is due to take place in Singapore this May.

On 22 December, Singapore announced a freeze on VTL ticket sales from midnight that evening until 21 January, when there will be a 50% cap on the previous quota.

 

However, travellers who already held a ticket for a VTL flight could continue to enter Singapore under the VTL on their originally planned date. That day, outbound ticket sales jumped to over four times the daily average of the previous week and inbound more than doubled.

 

KLM tops all foreign carriers with the largest share of the Singapore market, by the number of seats, says Bing Han Kee.

KLM tops all foreign carriers for having the largest share of the Singapore market, by the number of seats, says Bing Han Kee, VP Sales – APAC at ForwardKeys.

RESILIENCE IN THE NETHERLANDS

During the following week (23 – 29 December) tickets issued for inbound travel fell by 51% and outbound fell by 76%, compared to the week before.

 

Analysis of the top source markets for Singapore revealed that the top ten suffered a substantial, double-digit, decline in bookings, except Hong Kong, which suffered an 8% drop and Dubai, which was 20% up on the previous week.

 

Analysis of the top ten destinations revealed an even greater decline in outbound flight bookings the week after the VTL suspension, except for the Netherlands, which experienced an 11% increase.

 

“I suspect the resilience of the Netherlands as a destination is influenced by KLM, which is currently the foreign carrier with the largest share of the Singapore market, by the number of seats,” adds Bing Han Kee.

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