China travellers keen to 'revenge travel', tour agencies expecting spike in demand with Singapore visa exemption

Managing director of Oriental Travel Stanley Foo told CNA that the agency has been badly affected by the drop in Chinese visitors. It saw a 50 per cent decrease in bookings from Chinese visitors, compared to before the COVID-19 pandemic. 

This group used to make up about 30 to 40 per cent of the tour agency’s bookings, but the figure now stands at less than 10 per cent, he added. 

“I don’t really see them anymore, except for business travellers. The group travellers have really reduced dramatically,” said Mr Foo. 

“Pre-pandemic, tourists from China are the top three visitors coming to Singapore. So it’s definitely affecting the tourism industry in Singapore badly, without them. We need their money.” 

In the hour after the announcement of the visa exemption agreement, online travel booking platform saw an 80 per cent increase in the search volume for deals in Singapore, said Ms Ru Yi, the company’s general manager for Singapore. 

Searches for flight tickets and hotels also increased by 90 per cent and 50 per cent respectively, she added, noting that from January to October, 1.13 million Chinese tourists arrived in Singapore, making China the second-largest source of inbound visitors to Singapore. 

Tour agencies and industry experts pointed to several factors as to why visitor numbers have yet to completely rebound. 

Malaysia and Thailand also recently granted Chinese tourists visa-free access, and this new agreement will make Singapore more competitive on this front, said Ngee Ann Polytechnic senior lecturer in tourism Michael Chiam. 

“The rate of recovery for Chinese arrivals depends on many factors, and they include foreign currency exchange rate and the rate of economic recovery of the Chinese market. Visa-free arrangements is just one of them,” he added. 

Mr Foo also pointed to the stiff competition from Singapore’s neighbours, noting that spending a night in Singapore could be equivalent to spending three nights in Malaysia or Thailand. 

“The prices of hotels went up dramatically, and this will affect a certain group of visitors,” he added, noting that the price increase was about 20 per cent across the board. 

The frequency of flights between Singapore and China is currently at about 60 to 70 per cent of pre-COVID levels, said Ms Li. 

Singapore Airlines declined to disclose specific figures on demand for flights between Singapore and China due to “commercial sensitivities”. 

China is an important market for the SIA Group, which comprises Singapore Airlines and Scoot, said its spokesperson. 

As of December, the SIA Group serves 23 destinations in China, compared to its 25 destinations before the pandemic, they said. 

There are 150 passenger flights to and from China each week, with Singapore Airlines operating 70 and Scoot operating 80. This is an overall increase from about 132 flights in July, where there two airlines operated 49 and 83 flights respectively.

Research from the Nanyang Technological University (NTU) on China’s outbound tourism in 2023 showed that the country’s travellers tended towards revenge travel, with a “resilient eagerness” to go overseas, said Associate Professor Deng Xin with the university’s business school. 

The visa exemption agreement will eliminate the hassle of visa applications, she added. “I anticipate that the numbers will eventually reach or surpass pre-pandemic levels, although it might take some time.” 

Southeast Asia is China’s top outbound destination, she added. 

“Chinese travellers rank destination safety, unique scenery and being friendly to the Chinese as the top three destination considerations. They long to travel abroad, yet also want to feel at home when travelling in terms of the language and payment choices. Singapore meets all the criteria.”

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Singapore to remove melamine-related requirements for milk imports, including infant formula, from China

Singapore’s Food Agency( SFA ) announced on Monday, October 23, that it will no longer require imports of milk, milk products, or products containing milk from China due to melamine. Since 2008, when methanol, a plastic-making substance, was found in infant dairy products made in China, the government’s dairy industryContinue Reading

Singapore tops Southeast Asia in seeing different religions as compatible with society: Survey

According to the Pew review,” this” spiritual switching” has resulted in a decline in the proportion of Singaporeans who identify as Buddhists or adherents of Chinese traditional religions and an increase in that number of Christians or atheists.

Only 26 % of respondents currently identify as Buddhist, despite the fact that 32 % said they were raised as such. And while 15 % of respondents claimed to have grown up adhering to Chinese traditional religions, only 6 % do so today.

In contrast, while 11 % of those who are currently practicing are raised as Christians, 17 % are not. 13 percent of those who were raised without religion, but 22 % of the respondents do not currently practice any religion.

Federal Identification Signs

Pew also examined how federal pertaining intersected with religion and various markers of identity.

In Singapore, respondents were questioned about the significance of different identification markers for being a part of the country.

These included having been born in Singapore, belonging to the majority ethnic group( Chinese ), and practicing the predominant religion( Buddhism ).

According to the study, Singaporeans are much less likely than other people in the area to emphasize these nationalist aspects of national belonging.

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Air China says engine failure may have caused fire that prompted emergency landing in Singapore

SINGAPORE: The fire that forced an emergency landing at Singapore’s Changi Airport on Sunday( Sep 10 ) may have been caused by an engine mechanical failure on Air China flight CA403.

The airport added that investigations are ongoing and stated that this was based on a primary assessment.

Air China even stated in a Weibo post on Monday that staff people handled the affair in accordance with protocol and that travellers cooperated throughout the removal.

When dust was reported in the forward load hold and restroom at around 4 p.m., Flight CA403 was traveling from Chengdu to Singapore. & nbsp,

At around 4.15 p.m., the aircraft, which had 146 people and nine staff members, made an emergency landing at Changi Airport.

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Four Singaporeans among more than 1,000 alleged trafficking victims rescued in the Philippines

SINGAPORE: Four Singaporeans were among the alleged trafficking victims rescued by the Philippines police after a raid in Manila on Monday (Jun 26) night. 

Responding to CNA’s queries, a spokesperson for Singapore’s Ministry of Foreign Affairs (MFA) said on Thursday that its embassy in Manila is in contact with the relevant Philippine authorities.

It has also reached out to the affected Singaporeans to render consular assistance. 

“Currently, we have verified that there are four Singaporeans among those rescued,” added the ministry.

On Tuesday, the Philippine police said they had rescued more than 1,000 people allegedly trafficked into the country to work for an online casino in Manila. 

Chinese, Vietnamese, Singaporean and Malaysian victims were among those found when police raided buildings in the capital on Monday night.

People from Indonesia, Pakistan, Cameroon, Sudan, and Myanmar were also found inside the compound.

More than 2,700 people were detained during the raids – over 1,500 were Filipinos.

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Singapore has 'a vested interest' in ensuring US-China communication lines are good: Ng Eng Hen

GENERAL LI’S SPEECH WAS” Really Apparent.”

Dr. Ng responded that many officials had expressed their admiration for General Li’s speech and that he was” really clear” in his attitude when questioned about his thoughts on it.

” I’m glad he did so in a composed manner. Whether you like the information or never depends on the viewer, but the quality was in terms of where the dark lines were and how they would affect different countries. Each nation may include to make a choice, he continued.

Dr. Ng gave a ministerial speech on Sunday morning in which he provided examples of” as new as ten years ago” regular exchanges between American and Chinese officials. The defense officials of the US and China last traveled to one another in 2018.

People may forget that they were at that, and I think that’s something you can aspire to, Dr. Ng said to the media.

I can tell you that it takes time for men from different militaries to click together. That is the process of developing connections. Therefore, we want( the US and China) to develop that kind of relationship, and we are assured that they will do so in the future.

We’re really onlookers, but as I said, we aren’t uninterested observers. We have a responsibility to ensure that the US-China contact ranges are reliable.

Dr. Ng even expressed some opinions regarding a Chinese warship that, according to the US military, maneuvered” in an unsafe manner” close to an American Warship passing through the Taiwan Strait on Saturday.

According to Dr. Ng, all nations are” involved when either great or fast-moving objects move nearby” to one another.

And that’s why, ASEAN, we’ve been working very hard to prevent that ,” he continued, citing two set of rules for impromptu air and sea occurrences between members of the group.

Incidents have occurred, and that is precisely what we are saying. Who are you going to phone if it happens? Ghosts? ” Dr. Ng chuckled.

Dr. Ng stated that some people had told him that” we would have needed one very much if there was no such thing at the moment” when assessing how this year’s Shangri-La Dialogue had turned out.

Therefore, he continued,” So in that sense, it’s an assurance that the Shangri – La Dialogue plays a role and that it naturally fills in the gaps today.

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Experience and preparation are key, say climbers after Singaporean goes missing on Mt Everest

Dr Kumaran Rasappan, an orthopaedic surgeon at the National University Hospital who summited Everest in 2012, echoed Mr Lim’s advice.

“They should definitely have tried other mountains, including 6,000m, 7,000m, 8,000m peaks before attempting Everest. I think that’s the minimum, no matter how fit you are, because the body responds very differently at altitudes above sea level,” Dr Kumaran added.

“Training at sea level is also important to get the physique, but having previous experiences at high altitude is important not only for the physique but for the psychological difficulties you may face.”

The 39-year-old, who obtained an international diploma in mountain medicine in 2018, said that altitude sickness can strike due to a variety of factors like the rate of ascent and how acclimatised a climber is.

Those who have mild symptoms of acute mountain sickness may recover by resting and taking medication. But those who come down with HACE or HAPE should get to lower altitudes with the help of steroids or supplemental oxygen, Dr Kumaran said.

Despite all this, the climbers said that even the most experienced ones can get into trouble and succumb to the elements.

In April, Mr Noel Hanna, a mountaineer from Northern Ireland who had climbed Everest 10 times, died while descending from the peak of Annapurna mountain (8,901m) in Nepal.

Ten people have died on Everest this climbing season, including a Malaysian and a Chinese climber, double the average of five climbers who die on the mountain every spring. Another Malaysian has been missing since Friday.

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