IN FOCUS: After signs of recovery, how much damage is Omicron doing to the battered travel and tourism industry?

But while it's a long road to recovery, experts remain confident that the travel and tourism industry's resilience will prove itself again and help it to bounce back.

Over the last two decades, the industry has demonstrated its ability to recover time after time, with crises such as Sars, ZIKA, Ebola, as well as the Sep 11 attacks, said Masterconsult Services' Mr Khoo.

"The industry has been pretty good in reacting to lower demand (such as) adjusting prices, or coming up with innovative packages or even promoting staycations," he said.

"COVID-19 is really a once-in-a-lifetime kind of event and we were all caught flat-footed … but one example that we saw (of how quick the industry is to adapt to changes) was the idea of virtual tours," he said. "These have really taken off and we see some companies who are doing virtual tours or hybrid tours that are doing very well."

"So the tourism sector has not been slow in adapting and adopting new practices when need be."

Some, who managed to pull through the worst of the storm, have even carved out a niche for themselves in the market.

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Monster Day Tours, which launched its first virtual tour last year, now has 15 local and overseas remote tours.

The firm also worked with a Singaporean game design company to create puzzle tours, in order to attract the locals.

"We managed to make virtual tour a mainstay product, and we saw that there was already an upward trend for thematic experiences, where more and more people were willing to put in money to try different things that they deem as hyper-local," said Mr Suen.

"We have always believed that small, niche tours will be the future and I think COVID has only accelerated this," he said.

Artmotion Asia

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