20 more travel agencies pull out of Natas' travel fair

20 more travel agencies pull out of Natas' travel fair

SINGAPORE - 20 more travel agencies have announced that they will be opting out of the National Association of Travel Agents

In total, 24 travel agencies will be joining the rival fair which will tentatively be called Outbound Travel Fair. It will be held at Marina Bay Sands (MBS) from March 27 to 29, added the English daily.

Along with the "Big Four" travel agencies CTC Travel, Dynasty Travel, Chan Brothers Travel and SA Tours, companies including Apple Holidays, Nam Ho Travel and Farmosa Holidays have confirmed their participation with this new fair. According to The Straits Times, these agencies contributed to 80 per cent of the total sales at the last Natas sale.

Last week, Today newspaper reported that the agencies disagreed with Natas over the entrance fees charged to the public and how the proceeds from the fair were used.

At the media conference held at MBS on Tuesday morning, the agencies said this move was also fueled by other issues such as Natas' lack of transparency and rental costs.

They also shared how there was "no evident efforts" by the association to counter declining sales and fair attendance, added The Straits Times.

The representatives said they had earlier proposed to Natas a travel fair with an organising committee made up of travel agency exhibitors but was rejected.

In another move to be heard, 17 agencies signed a petition to highlight their grievances and sent them to Natas on Oct 13, but did not receive any constructive responses from the association, said The Straits Times.

Last week, the "Big Four" agencies announced that they have pulled out of Natas due to disagreements with the association and said they will be holding their own travel fair next March, reported various media outlets.

According to The Straits Times, large agencies typically rent a 400 sq m space - about the size of four five-room housing board flats at the fairs - and can cost up to $60,000. The cost of taking part in the rival fair will "definitely be lower", it added.

Natas has been organising travel fairs since 1987 and each fair "attracts tens of thousands of visitors and generates millions in sales", according to Today.

wjeanne@sph.com.sg

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