Travel agencies

Travel agencies in Singapore prepare for return trip to Japan

Japan’s reopening to international travelers this month and the current favorable yen exchange rate have prompted travel agencies in Singapore to offer attractive packages to satisfy pent-up demand for the land of the rising sun.

Since Japan announced in May that it would reopen from June 10 to tourists from 36 countries, including Singapore, tour operators have taken action.

Travelers are advised to book ahead and avoid potential airfare hikes for flights to Japan

Even with the higher number of procedures currently required for an organized trip to Japan, travel companies expect interest to remain strong until 2023.

For Chan Brothers Travel, one of Singapore’s largest travel agencies and tour operators, the strategy is multi-pronged. According to its spokesperson, Jeremiah Wong, the agency has launched longer tours that contain enriched content to further showcase the country’s offerings.

The agency is also the first to offer seasonal itineraries such as autumn, winter and ski holidays in Hokkaido, as well as Sakura tours for April 2023.

On top of that, Chan Brothers Travel offers exclusive small-group tours in Japan, limited to nine people – perfect for travelers who want more privacy with family and/or friends.

Wong said the agency is encouraging travelers to book ahead and avoid potential airfare hikes by offering a limited-time offer of 50% off the second traveler. Early bookings can also take advantage of free cancellations and flexible refund policies.

A quick scan of the internet reveals that a return economy class flight on Singapore Airlines for the week before Christmas will cost over S$3,000 (US$2,158.80). A flight with the same carrier for the same period in 2019, although booked in March of the same year, costs less than S$1,000.

Price hikes aside, travel agencies like HIS International Travel are determined to attract tourists with their local expertise and extensive programs.

Yusaku Koike, Singapore Branch Manager, HIS International Travel, said, “The response has been overwhelming as people are excited to travel to Japan again. We have a few different itineraries to target different groups of travelers. For example, our fall itinerary is for those who want to catch the fall maple leaf season, and our Osaka itinerary is for people who like to shop.

Koike said GTT Asia that HIS has offices across Japan, and its connection with the Japanese government and local prefectures means that “we are able to provide not only a comprehensive itinerary, but also exclusive services and information that travelers need, such as visa applications and immediate assistance from our branches in Japan”.

Mike Harlow, managing director of luxury travel specialist Scott Dunn Asia, said: “It’s pretty clear that Japan will continue to be a popular destination – we are currently working to further expand our product and property offerings to offer more exclusive experiences that would appeal to our customers when the destination opens up for private tours and tours.”