Searches to destinations in Germany grew close to 10 times compared to the average of the last seven days, according to Expedia, after a vaccinated travel lane between the two countries was announced on 19 August. The vaccinated travel lane means that inoculated travellers can skip quarantine. As of 10 am on 20 August, APAC head of communications, Lavinia Rajaram, said searches for flights to Germany increased sixfold on the Expedia platform, compared to the previous day.
Statistics from Expedia also showed that travel from Singapore to Munich showed two times more interest versus Singapore to Frankfurt. While Singapore was never a top 10 leisure destination for German travellers, Expedia saw interest in travel to Singapore from Frankfurt and Munich jump by 70% within 24 hours after the announcement. The vaccinated travel lane by Singapore is also extended to Brunei, and this has also led to a 300% increase in search trends for travel between the two countries compared to the week before.
According to Expedia, this was an indication that vacation deprived Singaporeans are looking for a short and closer to home option such as Brunei, to get their vacation fix. Meanwhile, searches for travel to Hong Kong and Macau grew close to 450%, which did not come as a surprise to Expedia given travellers have been extremely eager to take their first leisure trip, Expedia said. Singapore is also a top destination for HK travellers in the second half of the year.
Expedia's current focus is to ensure it is able to deliver an entire experience for its travellers, from flights to hotels and an important element which is travel insurance and potentially testing options, all in one place. While it did not offer further details about its marketing plans, Expedia said this is "definitely an exciting time for many Singapore travellers" and that the country is also heading into a travel season.
While it is still too early to conclude if prices are going to increase in the next few days, Expedia expects demand to grow closer to the holiday season. "Airlines offering flights under the vaccinated travel lane have announced competitive pricing and Expedia is working closely with our industry partners to offer the best value for our travellers," it added.
Under the vaccinated travel lane, visitors will not need to quarantine or serve stay home notice, but will be required to take four COVID-19 tests. These include two days before departure, one upon arrival, one on the third day, and the last one on the seventh day.
Expedia recently launched its COVID-19 Travel Advisory Tool to help travellers get all their destination travel advisories, regulations, health and safety guidelines all in one place. It also recently introduced new virtual agent capabilities to allow travellers better flexibility to manage and control their booking, all of which can be easily done through the Expedia mobile app.
"According to Expedia’s Travel Companions Report released in May this year, 44% of the Singapore respondents also said that their future travel is highly dependent on the success of vaccination. Hence with the launch of the vaccinated travel lane scheme, this will surely bode well with those who are already vaccinated and have a desire to travel, and provide a much welcomed boost to the travel industry," said Rajaram.
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