Lately we have seen a sharp decline in tourist arrivals here in North Sulawesi. Although the area generally is not known for its large influx of foreign tourists, this decline does have a dramatic effect on our resort. We see fewer guests, more empty rooms, and fewer dive boats on the water.
A lack of flights from Singapore to Manado seem to be largely at fault, and with so much awesome diving to do here, this is a problem.
To find out why this is occurring, we look back to 2018, when Singapore Airlines’ CEO Goh Choon Phong announced that Scoot Airlines would be taking over a number of flights from its sister company SilkAir. Both companies are owned by Singapore Airlines.
This includes the direct flight between Singapore and Manado. This is the “best” one: you fly long haul from Europe, a layover in Singapore, and only 3 hours to Manado.
A bumpy transition
However, this transition was not without consequence. We became aware that you can’t buy tickets from SilkAir or Scoot with flight dates after May 4th 2020. Most people like to research their vacation well ahead of departure. Therefore we’re quite sure this is one of the main causes of the drop in bookings.
To say we’re not happy with this development is an understatement.
Pushing the decisionmakers
But we are not alone in this. All resorts in the area are facing exactly the same issues. So together with the North Sulawesi Watersports Association, we have been working hard to get information from all involved, including:
- the Civil Aviation Department
- the board of tourism in North Sulawesi
- the spokespeople for Singapore Airlines and Scoot
- all the way up to the president of Singapore Airlines himself, Mr Choon
With the appropriate pushing and prodding through these channels, we finally have some word of confirmation from the powers that be: Scoot’s flights slots have been approved now. This means that Scoot will continue to take over the flights from SilkAir, and flying on the same slots as SilkAir always has done from Singapore to Manado.
What needs to happen next is for Singapore Airlines and Scoot to start publishing their rates, and start selling tickets again. Together with the NSWA we are pushing the airlines hard to make this happen.
Why deny sales?
It’s worth mentioning that, of these flight transitions, the Singapore – Manado flight is one of the few suffering from this mismanagement. Other destinations in the flight portfolio have seen a much smoother transition, with tickets being more or less always available during the transition period. Why Singapore Airlines is “pausing” ticket sales (thus denying themselves your hard-earned money) is beyond us.
In the mean time, if you have any questions don’t hesitate to reach out.