Affluent S'poreans travel 'as often as rich Chinese'

PHOTO: Laucala Island

The well-heeled in Singapore travel as often as the wealthy in China, according to a recent survey by credit card firm Visa.

Affluent holiday-goers here go abroad about three times a year on average, tying with those from China as the most frequent travellers in the Asia-Pacific.

This study was based on an online survey of 500 people in Singapore with an annual household income of at least $100,000. It was conducted last November to December.

Seven other countries, including Indonesia and South Korea, were also surveyed.

Nearly one in two of the respondents in Singapore said they had gone on a luxury weekend trip and a similar proportion said they had stayed in four-star hotels.

"The affluent in Singapore are consistently seeking luxury experiences and services when they venture abroad," said Ms Ooi Huey Tyng, Visa's country manager for Singapore.

When deciding where to go, shopping and relaxing at beaches and resorts were the top factors considered by the rich in Singapore.

The study also found that the average affluent person here is aged 37 and has an annual household income of more than $150,000, one of the highest across the countries surveyed.

They expect to spend more time travelling abroad this year too, nearly five times in a year, on average.

But it is not just the wealthy in Singapore who are frequent travellers.

Budget airlines and the strong Singapore currency have made it affordable for many people here to go overseas frequently, said Dr Michael Chiam, a Ngee Ann Polytechnic senior lecturer in tourism.

He said: "Singaporeans love to travel for all kinds of reasons. You can observe the travel patterns - whenever there is a long weekend, the number of cars on the roads here lessen. Going overseas has become a habit for people here."

One such individual is Ms Kellyn Teo, 27, a business development manager, who goes abroad about three times a year. She said: "I have been doing so since I started working about three years ago.

"Going overseas is a good escape for a few days, a getaway from a busy life here."

This article was first published on June 12, 2015.
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