S'pore to China SIA ticket prices soar above S$2,000 following 15-day visa-free travel resumption

An SIA economy ticket from Singapore to Shanghai this weekend costs as much as S$2,878.

Daniel Seow | July 25, 2023, 11:40 AM

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Following the announcement that Singaporeans bound for China can once again travel visa-free for 15 days from Wednesday (July 26) onwards, flight ticket prices for the coming weekend to popular China travel destinations, such as Beijing and Shanghai, have soared.

The 15-day visa-free travel announcement was made public in a notice posted on Singapore's China Embassy website on July 23, and will apply to Singaporeans who enter China for business, tourism, family visit and transit purposes, from July 26, 12am onwards.

Surge in ticket price following announcement

The day before the announcement, the lowest fare for direct flights to China was S$459, but at 6pm the next day, this shot up to S$904, reported Shin Min Daily News.

Mothership checked the prices of flights from Singapore to China using Flight Network on July 24, focusing on return flights for a week's trip, leaving on the weekend (Jul 29 - Aug 5).

The most expensive return ticket found was for a Singapore Airlines (SIA) flight to Shanghai, going for a cool S$2,521.

Screenshot from SIA website.

Similarly, an SIA flight to Beijing this weekend could set one back S$2,063.

Screenshot from SIA website.

Even cheaper flights to popular cities in China have seen a surge in price, exceeding peak June-holiday rates by up to S$216 (Tianjin), with budget flights to Shenzhen an exception.

Tickets to Guangzhou and Shanghai, two popular destinations, were also more expensive than the peak holiday prices by S$35 and S$208 respectively.

Prices compiled by Shin Min as follows.

Lowest ticket price
Destination 2023 June holidays* Jul 24, 2023
Shanghai S$427 S$635 (Vietnam Airlines)
Guangzhou S$500 S$535 (Thai AirAsia)
Beijing S$685 S$772 (Xiamen Airlines)
Shenzhen S$620 S$434 (AirAsia)
Chengdu S$661 S$706 (Xiamen Airlines)
Tianjin S$375 S$591 (Air China)

Huang, 40, a Chengdu native, who originally intended to accompany her husband on a trip to Shanghai over the weekend, told Shin Min that she was shocked to see the surge in prices following the announcement.

She said: "After hearing the announcement, I considered following him on the trip, but who knew that the ticket prices would be so expensive?".

Ticket prices may remain high due to demand: travel agencies

Travel agencies interviewed by Shin Min also admitted that they received a surge in inquiries following the visa-free announcement.

Some expect the price of air tickets to remain expensive due to the growing demand, and because flights will take time to recover.

The price of tourism packages to China is also expected to increase as a result.

That said, a representative from well-known local travel agency Chan Brothers remarked that with the opening of new routes and flights between Singapore and China, airlines may lower ticket prices to remain competitive.

Similar trend after past lifting of travel restrictions

This is not the first time ticket prices for travel between Singapore and China have spiked due to high demand after relaxing of travel restrictions.

In November 2020, when Singapore lifted border restrictions for visitors from mainland China during the pandemic, direct flight prices from China to Singapore reached as high as S$2,300.

And four months ago, when China officially reopened its borders to visitors, ticket prices similarly shot up, with the first SIA economy flight from Singapore to Beijing commanding a ticket price of S$4,160.

That announcement also led to crowds of applicants queuing outside the China visa application centres in Singapore.

Top image from SIA website