Government survey shows families in Singapore are spending more on travel

PHOTO: The Straits Times

SINGAPORE - Families are spending more on travel compared to five years ago, according to a recent survey by the Department of Statistics.

Conducted every five years, the latest Household Expenditure Survey is based on data collected in 2017 and 2018 for Singaporean and permanent resident households.

Average monthly expenditure on overseas travel increased from $260 to $340 since the previous survey conducted between 2012 and 2013.

One reason is that air travel has become more affordable as budget and full-service carriers compete for the pie, says Ms Alicia Seah, director of public relations and communications for Dynasty Travel.

She adds that people see travel as part of their lifestyle, rather than a luxury and are more likely to take spontaneous trips over long weekends.

The survey also revealed that travellers are spending more in Asia, Australia and New Zealand, while expenditure in the United States and Canada has fallen.

Ms Seah says the rise of e-commerce has caused outlet malls in the US - once a draw for Singapore travellers who love shopping - to lose their lustre, and long flight times to North America may also deter some travellers.

Mr Marcus Yong, regional marketing director of online travel agency Klook, says their top three Asian destinations for the Singapore market are Japan, Hong Kong and South Korea.

Japan has long been a favourite of Singaporeans.

Mr Lim Theng Sian, 55, has visited the country thrice with his family in the past five years. He enjoys the clean, safe and orderly environment, as well as Japanese food that he says is fresher and cheaper than what is available here.

In Japan, Mr Lim, a part-time financial advisor, usually takes self-drive trips around regions such as Hokkaido, Kyushu and Tohoku with his wife, a 55-year-old housewife, and their two sons, who are in their 20s.

The family takes about two vacations a year, which Mr Lim says are a good time for family bonding.

He adds: "When we plan trips together, we find out each other's likes and dislikes. On these trips, we also spend most of the day having meals and doing activities together. In Singapore, everyone is mostly doing their own thing."

This article was first published in The Straits Times. Permission required for reproduction.

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