Sunday, September 16, 2007

Braving the crowds at Natas Holidays 2007

According to a story published on Thursday, more Singaporeans are taking advantage of the buoyant economy, rising affluence and lower air fares to head overseas for their holidays. Since holiday travel is now at an all time high in Singapore, it is not surprising to see many people flocking to Natas Holidays 2007 which began on Friday.

This year, the popular annual travel brought together 160 exhibitors, including new participants like Air Bagan, Air Zimbabwe, Asia Global Vacation, the Austrian Embassy and Jakarta City Government Tourism Office. The organisers even boasted that it will be one of the largest and most successful fairs held in Singapore. So yesterday, I decided to head to Singapore Expo to check it out.

The first thing that greeted me once I was outside the hall was the crowd of people queuing to buy tickets to get into the fair.


YouTube Link

It was so crowded as you can tell from the video above. Don't you think these people look like robots coming out of a factory assembly? Haha! Here's another video.

Once inside, I noticed more queuing.


Queue! Queue! Queue! Queue! Bloody hell, to get a free cup of Milo, also need to queue.


And if you're not in the line to grab the travel offer that you fancy, you'd most likely be sitting while you wait for your turn. Sigh.

Anyway, I managed to grab lots of flyers and brochures while I was walking around.


Switzerland, Italy, Turkey, Sydney! Argh! So many places to go to! Damn, I'm confused.

One of the exhibitors at Natas that caught my attention was online travel agent ZUJI.


Unlike other booths at the fair, the ZUJI booth was simplicity at its best. It only had stacks of flyers and a laptop on the table which says "Book Online at". Ironically, amidst all the queue and crowds, they were present with one objective in mind - to encourage people to 'quit the line, and book online.' The ZUJI folks even had guys walking around with big signboards to spread the same message. I know queuing seems to be Singaporeans' favourite pastime but it's definitely not mine. I HATE to queue - well, maybe for delicious donuts but that's the only thing I would queue for aye.


I thought it's a brilliant idea by ZUJI to come to Natas, get a booth and tell people not to queue. Why queue when you can save time and money aye? I think nowadays online bookings are getting quicker, easier and safer and they are beginning to offer more and more products online. There's also the price transparency. I can go to sites such as ZUJI, Priceline and Expedia, and let them do the searching for me to quickly come up with the best deals. Ok, I know websites can never replace the advice and knowledge of an experienced travel agent because there are always going to be limitations in the complexity of the bookings the websites can process but for people like me who prefer the convenience of the internet, online travel agents like ZUJI are definitely here to stay. With these sites, I can book travel safely, securely and conveniently for hotels, flights and other travel services that I need. Nothing beats sitting back at home and let my mouse do the clicking instead of braving the crowds at travel fairs.

Now, where should I travel to? Hmm...

*looks through the ZUJI website*

Yay! Back to Sydney!

Gosh. I miss the Three Sisters.


Shy said...

IZ: Just make sure this time you don't get lost in Blue Mountains.

primus said...

i've been to the past few natas but decided to give this year's a miss. you still can get good deals there but like you i hate crowds.

Mr Big said...

>I can go to sites such as ZUJI, Priceline and Expedia, and let them do the searching for me to quickly come up with the best deals.

I've used both Zuji and Priceline quite a bit! I like Zuji the best. Priceline comes a close second. Expedia doesn't have a Singapore site.

Giselle Loh said...

IZ: Bring me to Blue Mountains ;o)

GeekGod said...

Check out this new guys -

They are a travel search engine.

Singapore start-up.

Myra Leong said...

Call me old fashioned but I still prefer booking my holidays through a real travel agent. It's a comfort to be able to talk to a fellow human being I guess.

Anonymous said...

You were there???!!!

What time?!!

someone said...

Where to go, hmm, Wien, Prague, Innsbruck, Paris... are Awesome places!

IZ: *suggest. U can go Japan for Risa Nagaiki

Boywonder said...

Dude, ur 3 Sisters photo is amazing!

xXx said...

I like Zuji but I think they could be better if they have a Live Online Operator.

zinc said...

it was so crowded on sunday!!! i got myself a trip to korea. next time i use zuji okie??

Mr Big said...

I badly need a holiday too.

IZ Reloaded said...

Shy: I'll try not to but then again being rescued by the mountain rangers was fun.

IZ Reloaded said...

GeekGod: Berzurk looks cool

IZ Reloaded said...

Anonymous said...

You were there???!!!

What time?!!

Anonymous: I was there on Saturday from 11am till 4pm.

Shy said...

IZ: Bring some good maps this time.

Chaplin said...

I'm quite a hardcore Zuji user. I use it to book flights for my parents, families and relatives because I'm too lazy to go to the travel agency myself but I agree with one of the commenters above about the Live Online Operator - is a cool feature to have.

pinkdior said...

iz: i go with you to blue mtns okie babe??

Anonymous said...

Nice photos!

Pete said...

Not all the deals on ZUJI cheap lor.