FEARS that the ongoing global economic uncertainty would dampen sales at the recent NATAS travel fair have proven unwarranted.
According to a NATAS spokesperson, the three-day fair in August saw 67,051 visitors and generated a record S$100 million (US$83 million) in sales, 17.6 per cent more than the same edition last year. China, Japan, Taiwan, Europe and Japan were the top five destinations sold.
It had already been apparent that Singapore outbound was on an upswing after travel agents reported a flood of bookings at preliminary sales events held in the run-up to the fair (TTG Asia, August 19 issue).
NATAS CEO, Robert Khoo, said: “It is clear that there has been a lot of pent-up demand for outbound travel. The strong Singapore dollar and favourable exchange rates have spurred Singaporeans to head abroad again.”
A Chan Brothers representative told TTG Asia e-Daily that the company managed to hit its sales target of S$13 million, roughly 10 per cent higher than the figure achieved last year.
CTC Travel also registered a sales increase of ten per cent over last year, according to Alica Seah, senior vice president for marketing and public relations.
However, some other agents were less enthused about their performance at the NATAS fair.
Clifford Neo, managing director of Dynasty Travel, said his company’s sales performance was “not too bad”, declining to go into exact figures.
Neo added that he believed the number of people visiting the event had diminished since it was launched almost a decade ago.
NATAS figures corroborate his view, revealing that visitor numbers to the fair dropped by five per cent compared to last year.
“For us it is a simple equation. Fewer people means fewer sales,” Neo said.