Singapore is set to open up to business travellers from all countries from the second half of January 2021. This is welcome news for firms as global business travel has been severely impacted due to various quarantine measures.
Opening up to business travellers will give a much-needed boost to Singapore economy. This announcement also comes on the back of PM Lee Hsien Loong’s national address to announce that Phase 3 will kick in from 28 December 2020 – where he also mentioned that Singapore’s global connectivity is its lifeblood.
It also comes on the back of news that the World Economic Forum, traditionally held in Davos, will meet in Singapore in May 2021.
Minister for Trade and Industry Chan Chun Sing subsequently announced on Tuesday (Dec 15) that Singapore will launch a new segregated travel lane called C[email protected], which is aimed at a “limited number” of business, official and high economic value travellers. According to Bloomberg, the arrangement is primarily aimed at official and multinational business meetings, medical consultations, private banking transactions and document signings or legal consultations.
While this is good news, business owners should be aware of certain guidelines and regulations under the [email protected] initiative. Before you book a flight for your colleague or employee overseas, here are some things to take note of.
#1 Applications To Open Mid-January 2021; Travellers To Stay Up To 14 Days
Travellers wishing to enter Singapore must apply beforehand and applications will only open in the middle of January next year. The first travellers will be able to arrive from the second half of the same month. Visitors under this initiative can stay up to a 14-day period.
Until then, travellers to Singapore will have to continue to apply through the existing travel schemes.
#2 Strict Health And Testing Protocols
Travellers coming to Singapore under the [email protected] initiative will have to present a valid negative COVID-19 Polymerase Chain Reaction (PCR) test prior to leaving their home country and to undergo another PCR test on arrival in Singapore, as well as Antigen Rapid Tests (ART) on days 3, 5, 7, and 11, of their stay here.
Business travellers must also comply to Singapore’s safety management measures, including wearing of masks. They will also have to use TraceTogether and SafeEntry so that close contacts can be identified and quarantined if a positive COVID-19 case arises.
#3 Travellers Must Stay And Hold Meetings In Dedicated Facilities
Travellers under [email protected] will be housed in a “bubble” within dedicated facilities for the entire duration of their stay. They will be separated from other individuals and when meeting local visitors, floor-to-ceiling dividers will be put in place to keep them separated.
Within the appointed facilities, travellers will have to stay within their predeclared travel group of up to five travellers. They will not be allowed to mingle with other travellers outside of this group. They will also have to abide by all prevailing national Safe Management Measures, and use Trace Together and Safe Entry.
One such dedicated short-stay facility is [email protected], located at Singapore Expo Halls 7 and 8. It will incorporate a rigorous COVID-19 testing regime for guest travellers, and deploy innovative solutions to minimise contact between guests and frontline staff, such as self-service meeting rooms. Guests can meet their local and international counterparts safely in specially designed meeting rooms outfitted with air-tight glass panels, reducing the risk of transmission.
According to news reports, stays in [email protected] start from $390 a night, which includes the testing, three meals a day and transfer to and from Changi Airport.
More segregated facility locations will be announced in the coming weeks, with interested operators able to submit proposal to the Singapore Tourism Board (STB) by 31 December 2020.
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