For months, the prospect of seeing Asia again has been like watching a plane fly through the night sky. Glimmers of beeping hope, but before you know it, the glimmer fades into the distance, and it’s back to reality.
Sadly, that reality has been that Asia will likely remain closed to outsiders until at least the end of 2020, with very few exceptions, but new details out of Singapore suggest that opening travel up again, even by a little bit, is still on the table.
Singapore Mulls Testing In Place Of Quarantine
Few travellers can afford the time, or the expense of 14 days in mandatory isolation. Countries are pivoting to long stay tourism, including digital nomad visas in a bid to attract longer term guests, but for popular transit hub Singapore, that’s less realistic.
After months of rigorous 14 day quarantine restrictions, Singaporean authorities are looking at robust covid-19 testing protocols, in place of quarantine. Before you pack your bags, the easing of restrictions would only apply to travellers originating from a selection of countries, based on covid-19 handling.
Comments from Singapore Transport Minister, Ong Ye Kung, suggest eligible countries would be based on those with equal, or lower covid-19 infection rates to Singapore, and would not require cooperation from the other countries. In other words, Singapore may open to visitors from select countries, whether Singaporeans are allowed to visit or not.
“Health and economic considerations are not at odds – we will find ways to revive our air hub and keep Singapore safe,Ong Ye Kung, Singapore Transport Minister
The city state has long relied on lucrative transit traffic throughout Southeast Asia, as well as lucrative business travellers to flood the city’s shops, restaurants and luxury hotels, almost all of which is now closed off. Recent years have brought unprecedented boom to the city, including the opening of the world’s largest indoor waterfall, dubbed “The Jewel” In Changi Airport.
But after total arrivals dropped below 4,000 in an entire quarter, and transit flights remain all but suspended, operations have been reduced to just two terminals, and national carrier Singapore Airlines is flying single digit percentages of its once robust and expanding route map.
With Singapore still closed to nearly all transit passengers, there’s just not many places one can go, for now.
Looking to the future, bright glimmers in the sky are appearing once again. Japan and Singapore have already committed to a business travel corridor due to open in September, whereby approved travellers who take necessary precautions can once again visit either country. Similar agreements are already in place between Singapore, China and Malaysia, with more expected shortly.
Here’s a guide to Singapore, with top eats, best hotels and what to do.
Singapore was one of the first to close its borders to outside passengers, but from the sound of it, it could be one of the first to selectively allow visitors from outside Asia back in, albeit, with some serious covid-19 testing expected.