Singapore’s new “vaccinated travel lanes” sparked a flurry of flight inquiries as residents of the city-state seek to take advantage of easing international travel measures.
Searches for cities within Singapore’s so-called VTLs doubled — and in some cases almost tripled, according to Expedia Group data. It came after government officials announced the opening of new quarantine-free travel lanes to countries in Europe, North America and Asia.
Easing international travel
Last week, Singapore announced quarantine-free travel with Canada, Denmark, France, Italy, Netherlands, Spain, the U.K. and the U.S. starting Oct. 19 — as well as South Korea from Nov. 15. Among the conditions are that travelers must be vaccinated and must take Covid-19 tests to ensure they are not infected before entry into the country.
The announcement marked a substantial expansion to the island nation’s VTL program, which currently includes Germany and Brunei.
Following the news, search interest among Singapore residents increased, week-on-week to:
Seoul, South Korea — 180%
Vancouver, Canada — 160%
Frankfurt, Germany — 130%
London, United Kingdom — 120%
Los Angeles, United States — 80%
Expedia’s managing director for Asia said the searches mark a shift in consumer demand for international travel. In August, Singapore’s most searched cities were regional hotspots, such as Japan, Hong Kong, Maldives and Taiwan.
“The VTLs have definitely had an impact in terms of how people think about travel, where they’re looking to travel, and how they plan their travel,” Choo Pin Ang told CNBC’s “Capital Connection” Tuesday.
However, he added that he expects more traditional travel destinations to increase in popularity as further easing is announced. Already, Singapore-based searches for year-end travel to both VTL and non-VTL destinations tripled from June to October.