Some Travel Agencies in S’pore Might Start to Sell Travel Packages to China

With the stringent COVID-19 management rules in China looking like they will be relaxed soon, travel agencies in Singapore have since

In particular, with the Chinese borders being rumoured to be open in March next year, various travel agencies have plans to promote and sell their China travel packages at the National Association of Travel Agents Singapore (NATAS) Travel Fair that will take place in February.

With the recent announcement that China may not continue with its strict “zero-COVID” policy in the coming months, some also predict that Singaporeans will be very interested in visiting China.

Tour Agencies’ Response to Relaxation of COVID-19 Measures in China

When speaking to Lianhe Zaobao, multiple travel agencies revealed that there is actually a pretty substantial demand for China travel packages in Singapore and that customers have been asking when the Chinese borders will be open.

Others who made bookings for trips to China before the pandemic started did not cancel their packages either. For Super Travels Pte Ltd, over 800 clients chose not to cancel their package despite not being able to travel to China for the past few years.

Their CEO, Huang Yuxiang (Hanyu pinyin), told Lianhe Zaobao that travel agents in China have shared with them that some cities in China may start allowing tourists to enter from March onwards.

He also believes that this is a valid prediction as the winter season may increase the possibility of flu and COVID-19 being spread. Hence, the government may not be willing to open the borders just yet.

Additionally, measures to increase vaccination rates for the elderly have just been implemented, and more time is needed for these schemes to take effect. When the vaccination rates in their country have increased, the Chinese government may be more confident in allowing tourists to visit their country.

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Which Areas Might be Opened Up First

Regarding which cities may be allowed to welcome tourists first, Mr Huang explained that one main factor influencing whether the different areas may attract tourists is the presence of medical services.

For example, rural or remote areas may not have suitable facilities to quarantine tourists who have contracted COVID-19. Therefore, they will definitely not be on the list of cities that will be opened up to tourists first.

Apart from that, areas with a substantial elderly population or high-tech industrial companies may also be closed to tourists for now.

Travel agencies interviewed by Shin Min also predicted that cities popular among tourists, such as Beijing, Shanghai, Sichuan, the Jiangnan area, as well as the Pearl River Delta, might be open to tourists first.

Zhuo Jinghua (Hanyu pinyin), the manager of Commonwealth Travel Service Corporation Pte Ltd, also said that when exactly the Chinese government will allow tourists to enter the country has yet to be finalised. Additionally, other possible measures, such as special regulations for tourists, have yet to be confirmed.

However, regardless of which cities open up first, the travel agency is confident that there will be an influx of tourists entering those cities.

As for now, travel agencies in Singapore are closely observing the situation in China and working together with fellow travel agencies in China to roll out travel packages whenever possible.

Rise in Price of Travel Packages

With the increased cost of living and international oil prices, the amount of money spent by tourists will inevitably increase.

In addition, the Chinese tourism industry is also facing a shortage of manpower.

Zhuo remarked that travel packages to other countries have all increased in price, and China will be no different.

Both Zhuo and Chan Brothers Travel Pte Ltd believe that their travel packages to China will increase in price by around 20%.

In particular, Chan Brothers’ Senior Marketing Communications Manager Huang Zhengping (Hanyu pinyin) explained that the company will be taking safety precautions to ensure the safety and health of tour members, thus increasing the amount of money spent.

Mr Huang Yuxiang from Super Travel also pointed out that plane tickets will be more expensive than usual since flights will not be fully restored so soon.

For his company, they expect to increase the price of their China travel packages by 25%. For example, the cost of their 7-day Jiangnan tour may increase from $988 to $1288, but it is apparently not enough to keep Singaporeans from wanting to travel to China.

He also shared that Super Travel intends to sell their China travel packages during the NATAS Travel Fair next February.

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More About the COVID-19 Situation in China

After living under strict COVID-19 rules that include frequent lockdowns and sometimes even daily COVID-19 PCR tests for almost three years, it seems like the country might finally be taking a turn from its “zero-COVID” policy.

More recently, protests have emerged in various parts of the country as citizens demanded freedom and democracy by raising white pieces of paper.

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Featured Image: Sean Pavone /