AVIATION | Staff Reporter, Singapore

Business travel bubble pilot launches after a month of delay

Connect@Changi will be the first facility to jumpstart this initiative.

After a month of delay, Connect@Changi is now open for bookings, according to Temasek.

Connect@Changi is a pilot short-stay facility designed to support safe business exchanges between international business travellers and Singapore's residents. It is the first facility appointed under the Connect@Singapore initiative.

The opening comes after Deputy Prime Minister Heng Swee Keat noted that resumption of business travel and international meetings is important for economic recovery in Singapore.

Temasek said with the facility, business travellers residing at Connect@Changi can meet their Singapore-based counterparts as well as guests from other countries safely in specially designed meeting rooms outfitted with air-tight glass panels to reduce the risk of COVID-19 transmission. Large-scale video conferences can also be held, which will allow hybrid meetings to take place.

According to Robin Hu, head of international policy & governance at Temasek and chairman of SingEx-Sphere Holdings, the facility was constructed after close to four months of intense, round-the-clock construction and collaboration with partners, government agencies, vendors, and subcontractors.

The facility will initially have 150 premium guest rooms and 40 meeting rooms that can accommodate a range of meeting sizes, from four to 22 attendees. After the initial phase of the project is completed in May, guest rooms will expand to 660 rooms whilst meeting rooms will have up to 170 rooms.

When completed, the facility will have the potential capacity to host some 1,300 business travellers.

The business travel bubble scheme was revealed in December 2021. The first group of business travellers who would pilot the program was supposed to arrive in Singapore by end-January, but was delayed as Singapore Tourism Board had not yet picked facility operators, according to reports.

As of this reporting, no other approved facility has been announced aside from Connect@Changi.

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