Data compiled by economists at Maybank Investment Bank reveals an increase in Google searches for Singapore, following the city-state’s easing of Covid restrictions. In particular, an increase in demand has been reported among travellers in Malaysia, along with Indonesia, India, and Australia.
According to a Bloomberg report, Singapore has jumped ahead of its neighbours in ditching travel restrictions and adopting a “living with Covid” policy. The authorities confirmed last week that from today, there will be no more testing of vaccinated travellers. Thailand has adopted a similar policy, due to come into effect on May 1, which has boosted international travel bookings in the region.
Catherine So from Expedia says travel bookings between Singapore and Thailand have nearly doubled since Thailand’s announcement that PCR tests on arrival are being ditched from May 1.
“With the easing of measures by countries in the Asia-Pacific region, especially those in Southeast Asia and the Pacific, we’re beginning to see the return of demand for intra-Asia travel.”
The Asian exception that stands out in all of this is, of course, China, which is still pursuing a zero-Covid strategy. Prior to the pandemic, China was Singapore’s largest tourism market, making up nearly 20% of the 19.1 million who visited the city state in 2019.
Current data shows there are only 9 passenger flights scheduled between Shanghai and Singapore for the month of May, compared to 337 in May 2019. There are no flights planned between Beijing and Singapore during May.
Economist Lee Ju Ye from Maybank says it’s likely there will be an increase in short-term visitors to Singapore during the second quarter of the year, due to the number of ASEAN countries re-opening their borders. However, he says challenges remain, including China’s pursuit of zero-Covid and Russia’s war on Ukraine.
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