Over the years, the twice yearly travel fairs have been important events for many travellers to visit in order to shop for the best deals for their vacation. These fairs were more crucial during the pre-internet and pre-GPS era where we used to attend to collect travel brochures for many destinations as well as maps to help us decide where to go and how to go about planning our itineraries for DIY free and easy vacations.
During those days, we had to fax the owners of accommodations and hotels to secure our bookings as overseas phone calls were not cheap. So the many travel companies have been useful intermediaries to help book accommodations, land transfers and air tickets as well. Of course many holiday goers also purchased tour packages from the many participating travel companies offering substantial discounts during such fairs.
As technologies advance, many more savvy travellers are now booking their holidays on the internet and these usual bricks and mortar business travel agents are now facing tremendous challenge in getting travellers to book their vacations with them. Travel fairs used to pull in tens of thousands but the crowds have been dwindling. So last year, there was a fallout between some major players in the travel industry breaking ranks from NATAS, the National Association of Travel Agents Singapore, and they form own association as well as organize their own travel fair to rival NATAS travel fair.
As such, earlier this year, there were two travel fairs. Natas had their travel fair held from 6 to 8 March at the Singapore Expo Halls while the breakaway group held their travel fair from 3 to 5 April at the Sands Expo and Convention Centre, known as the Outbound Travel Fair. We used to have to pay an admission fee of $4 per person or $7 for two persons payment by Master Card to attend the NATAS fair. But this year, it was free. Of course the first Outbound Travel Fair was free admission as well. Admission fees, dwindling visitors and lack of transparency were among some issues cited by the breakaway group to form their own association and organize their own travel fair. It seems like this new group is now giving NATAS a run for their money pulling in more than 70,000 attendees for their first Travel Revolution Fair while NATAS managed to attract only around 55,200 visitors.
The next two travel fairs are coming up next month. This time the new group will hold their travel fair first from 24 to 26 July known as the Travel Revolution Fair at the Marina Bay Sands B2 Exhibition Halls D, E and F while the NATAS Fair will start from 31 July to 2 August at the Singapore Expo Halls. With all this latest development, consumers will stand to gain from the competition between these two rival groups. It is not only a good time to visit these fairs to book great tour offers for the year end holiday, it is also a good time to purchase travel insurance for those who DIY their own vacation where discounts as much as 45% or more are offered during such fairs. In addition, car rental companies such as Hertz and Avis will usually have special discounts for those who book cars with them during the fairs.
Besides, many other goodies are also thrown in during travel fairs if you spend above a certain amount using your credit cards from participating banks when you book your holidays with many of the bigger travel companies. So if you can decide on the dates you are most likely to be able to travel as well as the destination you wish to visit, take note of the dates for these two upcoming travel fairs.
So happy tour hunting and happy travelling…