AGRIBUSINESS, HOTELS & TOURISM | Staff Reporter, Singapore

Daily Briefing: Land-starved Singapore makes room for urban farms in food security push; Hotel Properties acquires Marriott Hotel for $30.56m

And Tuas Checkpoint will soon feature a contactless immigration system.

From Reuters:

Singapore now has more than 1,000 allotment gardens in a dozen of its national parks with each raised planter bed measuring 2.5 meters by 1 meter, and can be leased for three years for $57 (US$42) annually.

Agriculture makes up only about 1% of Singapore’s land area, but urban farming - including vertical and rooftop farms - is fast becoming popular in the city especially in the push for food security.

The country imports about 90% of its food and food security is highly susceptible to climate change and natural resource risks, the EIU noted, but Singapore has amongst the most green cover of urban centers - 66 square meters per person, compared to New York City’s 23.1 sq meters, according to a Siemens-sponsored Green City Index.

Urban agriculture is crucial to feeding Singapore’s growing urban population and the city aims to produce about 30% of its nutritional needs by 2030 by increasing the local supply of fruits, vegetables and protein from meat and fish.

Allotment gardens are key to that goal, said Azmi Shahbudin, director of HortPark. “We are encouraged by the positive response,” he told Reuters.

Read more here.

From TTG Asia:

Singapore-based Hotel Properties’ (HPL) wholly-owned subsidiary HPL Properties (West Asia) (HPLPWA) has acquired 100% of a five-star Marriott hotel from its Sri Lankan owner for $30.56m (US$22.6m).

HPLPWA bought the 198-key Weligama Bay Marriott Resort and Spa, located on Sri Lanka’s southern coast, from Sri Lanka’s East West Properties and Asia 2000 Investment.

This marks HPL’s second purchase in the Sri Lankan leisure market in less than a year, after it acquired a 94.7% stake in the 35-key Tangalle Bay Hotel owned by Sri Lanka’s Tangalle Bay Hotels for $2.98 m (Rs385m or US$2.2m) in August 2018.

HPL says it has interest in 32 hotels under hospitality brands such as Four Seasons, Hilton International, Como Hotels, InterContinental Hotels Group and Six Senses Hotels.

Read more here.

From ChannelNewsAsia:

A six-month trial for a new contactless, "breeze-through" immigration clearance system at Tuas Checkpoint is currently under way, the Immigration and Checkpoints Authority (ICA) announced on Monday (15 April).

The trial, which began on 8 April, uses one of the automated arrival lanes in the checkpoint’s bus hall.

Travellers are not required to present their passport or thumbprints for clearance in this lane. Their identity is verified using iris and facial images.

A back-end system then verifies if the identified traveller holds a valid passport, ICA said.

Participants must not wear sunglasses, cap or other headgear when using the contactless immigration clearance lane.

Read more here.

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