Singapore: Complimenting the Singapore government’s broader efforts to reinvigorate aviation and local hospitality sectors in a safe and calibrated manner, a state-funded COVID-proof facility has expanded by four-fold to 600 guest rooms and 160 meeting rooms for visiting international business executives to manage their deals through the city state.
Each in-person meeting at Connect@Changi, without the need for quarantine upon arrival, represents a small but concrete step towards the resumption of business and economic activities, Aloysius Arlando, CEO, SingEx-Sphere Holdings, one of the consortium partners led by the state-owned Temasek Group that is behind the facility, said on Tuesday.
“Connect@Changi is a pilot short-stay facility built to support the resumption of business and economic activities while safeguarding the local community,” he said about the facility, a 10-minute drive from Singapore”s Changi international airport.
It is uniquely designed to meet the immediate needs of business travellers who have to conduct in-person business meetings and other engagements with their Singapore-based counterparts, as well as guests from other countries, while being in a safe and contained environment, Arlando said.
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It offers the same integrated ‘test-stay-work-meet” experience for inbound business travellers with the addition of enhanced amenities to help guests unwind during their stay, he said.
“Connect@Changi is ready to host guests who are welcome to use the facility for any business activity that they see fit, and they might include small-scale or side meetings and presentations as part of a larger regional or international event or conference,” said Arlando.
Visitors to the facility are tested for COVID-19 on arrival at the airport.
The 150 guest room facility started in February but has been expanded to 600 guest rooms from this month, responding to over 100 confirmed bookings from international guests.
In the three months of its operation, the facility facilitated over 150 in-person meetings and hosted guests from regional countries such as Indonesia and Japan, as well as guests from the Americas, Europe and the Middle East.
“The facility made possible face-to-face business engagements like job interviews for senior management, product demonstrations, confidential business negotiations and contract signings from a diverse slate of business sectors and industries such as manufacturing, finance and engineering,” it said.
Business executives are ferried from Changi airport to the facility and allowed to manage their business networking at the star-rated hotel type facilities with F&B. Visits outside the facility to the island state are not allowed.
Singapore is home to almost all global Multi-National Corporations (MNCs) and has been hosting some of the large-scale conferences and exhibitions. One of the upcoming mega events here is the World Economic Forum (WEF) Special Annual Meeting scheduled for August 17-20.
The Meetings, Incentives, Conventions and Exhibitions (MICE) sector generates Singapore dollars 3.8 billion in ”economic value-add”, or nearly one per cent of Singapore”s gross domestic product (GDP), according to Singapore Tourism Board’s (STB) 2009 survey. About 50 MICE events have been held in Singapore since July last year while managing COVID-19 spread by adopting stringent safe measures.
In order to further mitigate the risk of COVID-19 transmission amongst large-scale events, mandatory Pre-Event Testing (PET) using the Antigen Rapid Test (ART) or the Polymerase Chain Reaction Test (PCR Test) is required for events with more than 250 participants at a time.