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Travel & Holiday

8 more long-weekend opportunities beckon

Enjoy 4-day breaks on 4 occasions with just a day of leave
The Straits Times - January 4, 2012
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8 more long-weekend opportunities beckon

THE first long weekend of the year may have just ended on Monday, but relax, there are eight other occasions to plan an extended weekend getaway.

Four will coincide with public holidays that fall on either a Friday, Sunday or Monday - Chinese New Year (January), Good Friday (April), Hari Raya Aidilfitri (August) and Hari Raya Haji (October).

And as four other public holidays - Labour Day (May), National Day (August), Deepavali (November) and Christmas (December) - are on a Tuesday or Thursday, taking leave either on Monday or Friday can open up a four-day break.

Those eyeing a longer holiday can take the week off between National Day and Hari Raya Aidilfitri in August to create a 12-day stretch.

Travel agencies are banking on the Chinese New Year break to give their businesses a rousing start.

Ms Alicia Seah, senior vice-president of marketing and public relations at CTC Travel, said it has had a 25 per cent spike in business, with Chinese New Year due in three weeks. 'It's a very positive outlook for the first quarter of 2012,' she said. 'Moving forward, we are expecting the other public holidays... to encourage more people to travel.'

She expects China and Europe to be popular destinations, due to the strong Singapore dollar.

Ms Michelle Yin, marketing communications manager for Chan Brothers Travel, said it expects 10 per cent more earnings for this year's festive period than last year's, based on bookings made. Hot destinations include China, Europe, South Korea, Taiwan, Japan and Australia, she added.

The expected sluggish economy does not faze agencies like Lightfoot Travel, whose managing director Simon Cameron remains optimistic about bookings, thanks to budget flights. 'Some clients are happy to fly budget to maximise their spending on hotels, but others don't mind economy flights.'

Hotels like those run by Millennium & Copthorne International also expect more Singaporeans to book 'staycations' during these long weekends. A hotel spokesman is projecting 80 per cent occupancy during the Chinese New Year period.

The Lim family are among many taking advantage of the New Year break. Student Diana Lim said her family of five plus maid will head to South Korea for eight days. It will cost just under $20,000.

Ms Lim, 16, whose father runs a food-and-beverage business, said: 'It is the only period of time in the year when it's easier for my father to take time off for a holiday, and I've just finished my O levels, so the timing is convenient.'

CHERYL ONG

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