SINGAPORE: Forget familiar holiday destinations like central Europe and Japan, Singaporeans are increasingly expanding their travel footprint to include places such as the Balkans, the Baltic states and East Africa, said the Singapore Outbound Travel Agents Association.
It is offering a range of travel packages to cater to changing preferences and demand, at its three-day travel fair which started on Friday (Mar 23) at Marina Bay Sands.
For instance, there were Russian cruises being offered, a 10-day Kenya and Tanzania animal migration tour, as well as an eight-day "glamping" trip in Melbourne.
The Balkans and Baltic states are "trending destinations", said the association. Many travel agencies at the fair were also offering packages to see the Northern Lights.
"The Baltics is one area in Europe that not many people have travelled to. Recently they have opened up, especially Belarus where it is visa-free for Singaporeans if they are flying through for five days," said Mr Ken See, managing director of LGE Travel.
"Russia is also becoming very popular for the chance to see the Northern Lights, yet it is not as cold as places like Finland, Sweden, Norway or Iceland so more people are travelling there as well," he added.
Some travellers at the fair said they chose to book their trips to "unconventional" or "exotic" locations with a travel agent, as logistics and food will be taken care of.
"I think it's okay going with a reliable tour agent, all things will be provided for. Whereas Japan all that, we've been to, so we want to try more exotic places," said one traveller, who wanted to be known as Regina, after she booked a trip to Croatia.
Travel agents added that in cases of emergencies, being booked with a tour has its benefits, especially in unconventional travel destinations.
Said Chan Brothers Travel's marketing communications executive Justine Koh: "Even on our free-and-easy tours, what we have is a 24-hour emergency hotline so there's always that assurance that while they are on tour, they are not completely by themselves ... There is extra protection in a way, beyond insurance."
This is the association's seventh edition of the bi-annual fair.