SINGAPORE, 5 July 2021: Confidence in overseas travel is growing among Singaporeans who hope the successful vaccination programme will open the door to international travel by year-end.
According to Expedia, searches for year-end international travel grew by 60% during the second quarter of 2021 compared with the first quarter .
It indicates strong pent up demand to book off-share holidays even though international travel restrictions remain largely in place between the city-state and destinations worldwide. Optimism towards international travel in recent months has been fuelled by higher vaccination rates among the resident population – with 75% of Singapore citizens expected to be inoculated by October 2021. This boosting interest in planning trips from November 2021 to the end of January 2022.
Searches for staycations grew close to 440% in the second quarter (Q2 2021), which included the June school holidays, compared to the previous quarter (Q1 2021). Despite the recent restrictions imposed as part of the country’s heightened alert, families in Singapore explored safe options to proceed with their staycation plans to fulfill their travel wanderlust.
In total, search volume for domestic and international travel  combined grew by 140% from Q1 to Q2.
Expedia Brand APAC head of communications, Lavinia Rajaram said, “The demand that the travel industry is seeing for the year-end travel season demonstrates just how eager Singapore travellers are to get back out there.”
Beaches and long-haul travel top wish lists
With Singapore as the most vacation-deprived market in the world, as revealed by Expedia’s 2020 Vacation Deprivation® Study, it came as no surprise that Singaporeans are eager to travel internationally. Expedia’s recent search data also revealed a shift in their preferred international destinations, with beach destinations becoming more popular for year-end travel among Singaporeans as compared to the same period in 2019 and 2018 when cooler North Asia destinations like Okinawa, Seoul and Taipei were top choices.
Beach destinations featured prominently in the list of top 10 most-searched international destinations, with the Maldives taking the top spot – a big jump from 2018 and 2019 when it took the 14th spot on the list. Other beach destinations that made the top 10 list include Bali, Krabi and Phuket, which took the 4th, 5th and 10th spot, respectively.
Fig 1. Top 10 most-searched international destinations, based on hotel searches on Expedia.com.sg between 1 May and 10 June 2021, for travel between November 2021 and January 2022
Keen to travel but overwhelmed by planning
Despite growing optimism around international travel for the year-end period, 71% of Singaporeans revealed that they feel overwhelmed with planning their next trip, according to recent findings from Expedia’s Travel Companions Report.
Expedia recently introduced new features to provide travellers the tools they need to make travel plans they feel confident and excited about, with everything they need in a single place, and support from start to finish to help them get the most out of every trip.
- Download the app: Expedia’s award-winning mobile app makes it easier to plan and keep track of travel plans, with handy push notifications alerting travellers to itinerary changes, easy messaging with your hotel, and a map feature to find nearby things to do.
- Book flexible rates: While many destinations are open, choosing refundable rates allows travellers to snag a great deal or get a trip on the books without worrying about plans needing to change. Filter search results for “free cancellation” or “reserve now, pay later” and select a refundable room type.
- Unlock deeper savings by bundling: Just by booking multiple items at the same time, such as adding an activity or hotel to a flight purchase, travellers can save up to hundreds of dollars on their trip.
- Keep tabs on the latest travel restrictions: With restrictions changing by the day or week, it can be tricky to stay up to date on the latest COVID-related guidelines. Use the COVID-19 Travel Advisory tool, which lets travellers type in their origin and destination to see what travel advisories or COVID-19 restrictions are in place.
- Improved support: New Virtual Agent capabilities allow many travellers to view their bookings, check their refund status, ask about hotel amenities or cancel/amend parts of their trips with ease.
- Extra perks: Customers will receive more Expedia Rewards points on app bookings, which can be redeemed on future trips. Plus, premium Expedia Rewards customers booking VIP Access hotels can benefit from room upgrades, spa credits and late check-out (subject to availability).
1]Based on searches for hotels on Expedia.com.sg between April to June 2021, for the travel period of November 2021 to January 2022.
2Based on searches for hotels on Expedia.com.sg between 1 May to 10 June 2021, for the travel period of November 2021 to January 2022.