Sunday, February 26, 2017

Trafalgar Survey: Most Popular 2017 Long-Haul Holidays for Singaporeans

Can you guess which long-haul destination Singaporeans are leaning towards in 2017?

Scandinavia came out tops as the most favoured European region, and Ireland is the favourite European country Singaporeans want to visit. Iceland and Finland were a close second and third. Iceland, I can imagine, is extra popular because they say the Northern Lights are dimming for a decade soon (greatly exaggerated though).

The top destination insights come from a survey done by Trafalgar, the well-known name in guided travel, which is celebrating its 70th year in 2017.

They surveyed Singaporeans' top destination picks and their travel attitudes. Scandinavia enjoyed a 30% vote (up from 16% in 2016). Is it because of the the series Vikings on Netflix? Outside of Europe, 50% picked USA and Canada. Full results of the survey can be viewed here.

I had a chance to meet the folks from Trafalgar recently. From Nicholas Lim, the President of Trafalgar Asia, I learned quite a bit about the company, philosophy and its 230 itineraries across 66 countries. Their travel director for Italian regional tours, Giacomo Giamboi, gave us a glimpse of how he builds in breathtaking experiential gems for guests. A side detour to a little-known 1400-year-old church with breathtaking ancient Roman mosaics are the surprises that help make trips unforgettable.

Selected Italy trips also get the Private VIP dining experience within The Vatican: guests are fast-tracked through a special VIP entrance of the Vatican Museums with a Local Expert, where they can admire the Papal art collection and enter the Sistine Chapel to admire Michelangelo’s masterpiece on its ceiling. After the museums close their doors to the public, the tour culminates with a private tour from a curator of the Ethnological Museum, who shares immense knowledge of the collection, before a private VIP Insider Experience, dining within the Vatican.

When we think of guided tours, we often picture hurried schedules and bland stops barely scratching the surface. Trafalgar changed the game by appointing 350 local travel directors, each of whom tasked with bringing immersive insider experiences that mirror bespoke luxury travel. They also build in enough relaxing free time. This is definitely not your usual tour for groups of 40 or more.

Interestingly, Trafalgar was founded in London's Trafalgar Square with the mission of bringing home British troops after World War II. Now I know what's behind the name too.

They are expanding with South America itineraries and started the Iceland one just last year. The latter was fully booked. So if you're keen, take a look at their website - - it's gorgeous, informative and easy to navigate. It's a pity we can't book direct yet, as there are still other details to be worked out separately like flights and trip customisation.

All photos courtesy of Trafalgar


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