Big Four among 50 travel firms taking part in rival fair

Big Four among 50 travel firms taking part in rival fair

More than 50 travel companies will take part in a new industry fair next month set up in competition with a long-established association.

Travel Revolution yesterday confirmed its list of exhibitors which includes the "Big Four" agencies - Chan Brothers Travel, Dynasty Travel, CTC Travel and SA Tours - and smaller firms such as Lokopoko, Travel Star and World Holidays.

The fair will make its debut at The Sands Expo and Convention Centre at Marina Bay Sands on March 27 and run to 29.

Meanwhile, the National Association of Travel Agents Singapore (Natas) will hold its fair, which features more than 80 exhibitors, across the March 6-8 weekend at Singapore Expo. It has not released further details.

Admission to both fairs is free.

Travel Revolution, which was originally going to be called the Outbound Travel Fair, was set up by a group of 24 travel agencies led by the Big Four after they decided last November to skip the Natas fair and hold their own on the same dates.

They were upset over various issues including Natas' public admission charges, and claimed its publicity for the event was unsatisfactory.

Despite subsequent concessions from Natas, the rival group stuck to its plan. Natas later brought forward the dates of its fair by three weeks.

Mr Freddie Lim, 60, a retired insurance broker consultant, said he may choose to go to the new fair rather than the Natas one. "It's quite overwhelming to have two travel fairs in such a short time."

"Hopefully, Travel Revolution will come up with something new. The location is more convenient too."

Ms Alicia Seah, a spokesman for Travel Revolution, said the fair is targeting 80,000 visitors and $100 million in sales.

The last Natas fair, held in August, attracted 56,189 visitors, a 10 per cent drop year-on-year. The Natas fair is held in March and August each year, and the March event last year took in about $80 million in sales.

A clause in Travel Revolution's contract stipulates that participating agencies cannot take part in the Natas fair.

Ms Seah, who is also the director of marketing communications at Dynasty Travel, said: "We feel that we need a concerted effort to make the fair successful."

She added that the breakaway group is still open to dialogue with Natas and is adopting a wait-and-see approach before deciding on its next move.

Natas president Devinder Ohri said: "We wish them all the best for their end-March show."

mellinjm@sph.com.sg


This article was first published on Feb 26, 2015.
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