NATAS cancels Travel 2020 fair after postponement
Natas Travel 2020 is called off, said the National Association of Travel Agents Singapore (Natas) in a statement on Wednesday.
The annual travel fair was originally scheduled for Feb 21-23 before it was postponed to May 1-3.
A spokesman for Natas told The New Paper the travel fair averages 100,000 visitors for each event, thus public health safety issues were taken into consideration when making the cancellation.
The decision was made after a poll was conducted among its exhibitors, and a large majority were in favour of the cancellation.
Natas said it is currently reviewing the status of Natas Holiday 2020, its other travel fair scheduled for August.
Travel agents TNP spoke to were not surprised the travel fair was cancelled. They said the travel industry has been experiencing a slowdown since Dorscon Orange and is bracing for further decline following the latest advisory asking Singaporeans to defer all travel with immediate effect.
Chan Brothers Travel has suspended all its tours from last Sunday to April 30.
The agency said on its website that it will be contacting all affected customers progressively, beginning with those who have more immediate departures within the week.
Dynasty Travel International told TNP it is forecasting a 40 to 50 per cent decline in sales in the first quarter of this year, as compared with last year.
It added that about 70 per cent of its customers have postponed or cancelled their tours, while 30 per cent opted to reroute their destinations to the second half of this year.
Dynasty Travel said that while the Natas Travel Fair usually generates 10 to 15 per cent of its overall annual sales, the agency agrees with its cancellation in view of lowering the risk potential for the public and its staff.
Said its public relations and communications director Alicia Seah: "We believe the travel industry will recover from the heavy setbacks it has faced.
"The travel industry is resilient. We had overcome many difficult conditions such as natural disasters, political unrest, and epidemics previously." - NUR IFFAH MUHAMMAD ROSTAM