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Singapore opens bubble for business travelers at Changi Airport

Bloomberg2/19/2021 11:04 AM GMT+08  • 2 min read
Singapore opens bubble for business travelers at Changi Airport
Business travellers will be able to come to Singapore without having to quarantine, provided they remain only at a Changi facility
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Singapore has started taking applications for a program that will allow people to enter the island for business and official purposes without having to quarantine for 14 days. The catch? They’ll have to stay in a bubble-like facility near Changi Airport, and can’t leave.

The first visitors under the so-called [email protected] program are expected to arrive next month, Alan Thompson, joint head of strategic development at Temasek International, said Thursday. Temasek Holdings Pte, Singapore’s state investment firm, is supporting the initiative.

“The economy was hurting, the aviation industry was hurting, the food and beverage and hospitality industry was hurting -- we needed something to kickstart the economy,” Thompson said. The purpose-built facility will “allow business meetings to happen that will then enable travel to happen and gradually we will be able to get business as close to normal” under these kind of circumstances.

Singapore’s small and open economy is largely dependent upon the tourism and service sectors for growth. To that end, it’s been trying to reopen its borders by establishing green lanes and special travel arrangements with countries where the virus is also contained, like New Zealand and Vietnam. But second and third waves in various places combined with the protracted vaccine rollouts mean widespread travel is still likely months away.

Regardless, authorities are keen to position Singapore, which has done a good job of containing Covid, as a prime spot for meetings, events, conferences and exhibitions. [email protected] will be among options available when Singapore hosts the World Economic Forum later this year, Thompson said.

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