Travel agencies

S’pore travel agencies report high demand for New Zealand tours as borders fully reopen

SINGAPORE — New Zealand is back on visitors’ radar after easing borders, with travel agents in Singapore reporting an increase in inquiries and bookings.

Travel agencies have also received more calls over the past week, with some saying interest is up 50% from May, when New Zealand first allowed visitors from countries and visa-free territories, including Singapore.

From July 31, all travelers can enter.

Mandy Chen, marketing manager for EU Holidays, said the agency had seen New Zealand package bookings jump 200% from August 2019.

These trips are mainly planned for November and December, when it will be summer there, she added.

“As most Singaporeans have not traveled for the past two years, they have now set aside more budget to travel to high-end destinations such as New Zealand,” Ms Chen said.

The average cost of a New Zealand package from the agency has increased by at least 20% compared to before Covid-19, with customers paying between $3,600 and $4,500.

Kelly Toh, marketing manager of CTC Travel, expects more bookings to be made at the Natas travel fair, which will be held at the Singapore Expo from August 12-14.

Its most popular New Zealand package offers the best of the North and South Islands, including Waitomo Caves and Arthur’s Pass, over 11 days.

Jeremiah Wong, senior director of marketing communications at Chan Brothers Travel, said while demand for travel to New Zealand had increased since its borders reopened, available flights were limited.

To deal with this, the agency will offer non-direct flight plans via transfers at Australian airports.

Ms. Xie Sijia, 29, is a traveler who beat the rush to get to New Zealand. She booked her 16-day trip in mid-May after finding Singaporeans could visit earlier in the month.

“New Zealand is at the top of the list because it offers a lot of treks and trails,” said the contract manager, who is an avid hiker and is currently here to experience the winter after “being stuck in Singapore during the 2 ½ years”.

“It was both on my partner’s checklist and on my checklist for the longest time.”

Fully vaccinated Singaporeans can enter New Zealand without quarantine but must take two Covid-19 tests after arrival.