Singapore has topped the list of travel destinations for people living in India, Indonesia, Thailand, Hong Kong, and the Philippines when borders re-open, according to a global study conducted by social research agency Blackbox Research, data provider Dynata, and language partner Language Connect.

The study interviewed some 10,195 people across 17 countries regarding travel in a post-Covid-19 world.

Of the five countries in Asia, Indians are the most eager to travel internationally in the next 12 months at 77%. This was followed by Thais at 70%, Indonesians at 60%, Hong Kongers at 47%, and Filipinos at 46%.

“People across Asia have the most pent-up demand to travel, and Singapore is well-placed to tap into that opportunity given its strategic location as the region’s travel hub. As Asia’s business hub as well, Singapore’s immediate focus on appealing to business travellers by working to establish green lane arrangements with a number of countries will help kickstart the industry,” says Saurabh Sardana, Chief Operating Officer of Blackbox Research.

The same study also found that Singaporeans are keen on the local travel industry to pick up the pace again, as an overwhelming 93% recognise that the industry is a major contributor to the country’s economy.

Around 67% of Singaporeans believe that the country is well-prepared to reopen tourism and leisure activities, and about 57% of them are comfortable with tourism boards – including their own – promoting their countries during a pandemic.

Some 78% of Singaporeans have also expressed interest to support local travel attractions in the next 12 months.

“Despite being a small island state that does not offer locals different states and regions to explore, our survey demonstrated that Singaporeans’ impression of domestic travel is still relatively robust. Singapore is committed to appeal to local consumers, as demonstrated by its $45 million SingapoRediscovers campaign, and its offerings are also well-placed to capture the domestic market,” says Sardana.

“The next stage will be to further grow the way domestic tourism is perceived by locals, based on a greater understanding of local preferences, sentiments, and expectations,” he adds.

However, 1 in 5 (or 20%) of Singaporeans say they will avoid travelling for business in the next 12 months, which spells a challenge for the country’s plans to resume essential business travel for executives.

Sardana notes that this stems from concerns on health and safety, as well as the availability of digital tools replacing in-person business meetings.

“With the number of cases in control now, Singapore is well placed to cut through the fear and noise around pandemic travel, and drive home the safety narrative for its local tourism assets. This includes assurances on health checks during key stages of their itinerary, as well as ensuring that the required safety standards and precautions are in place,” he says.