Slowly but surely is clearly the approach Singapore has been
undertaking so far to plot the country's safe return to travel in the
The latest? A new business travel pass is currently being piloted for
senior executives in Singapore, which will enable them to travel
overseas regularly on this pass for official and business purpose.
According to a statement issued by the Ministry of Health, travellers
on this pass – which is not country specific – have to abide by a
strict controlled itinerary when they are abroad for work. Upon their
return, they have to either undergo a stay-home notice or take a
Covid-19 test and self-isolate until the test results are out.
Along with the government's latest announcement to allow more people
to return to their workplaces from September 28, this is a note of
encouragement for the business travel and meetings sector.
"The demand of travel is growing and many corporate clients are
waiting for borders to open up so they may start travelling for their
business needs. We have quite a number of clients who have asked about
the travel pass," says Charles Tan, managing director of Pegasus Travel
The pass, however, does not equate to an open invitation for business
executives to start travelling again, Tan adds. For starters, he
believes that the pass will likely be rolled out on a by-invite basis
for "a very small group of high-level business people" to help the
government monitor the feasibility of wider implementation.
Although questions still surround the actual implementation of the
pass, Steven Ler, executive director, head of travel at UOB Travel
Planners, believes that this initiative helps to "open up a safe travel
reopening pathway based on destinations".
Like the various pilots that the Singapore government has rolled out
since emerging from lockdown in June, including green lanes established
with countries including Malaysia, Brunei, South Korea, Japan and six
regions in China, Singapore’s safe and calibrated approach to reopening
travel is built upon “testing” and “proof of concept”, adds Ler, who is
also president of National Association of Travel Agents Singapore.
Elevated role of DMCs
The complexity and unpredictability of overseas travel during the
pandemic has made travel risk management more important than ever
before. The role of DMCs and travel agents, says Ler, is critical to
consolidate the ever-changing information and help customers navigate
the labyrinth of complex post-pandemic travel rules.
UOB Travel Planner, for instance, has rolled out a Travel Care
Management tool to provide a full end-to-end solution for travellers,
including offering Covid-19 insurance for outbound travellers to
approved destinations and working with airports in the region to “bubble
wrap” travellers through the entire travel journey. "We are taking
preemptive steps to manage customer needs,” Ler adds.
The need to safeguard or "bubble wrap" event attendees at various
points of the travel journey (think pre-, during and post-event) will
likely also elevate the role of event planners once international MICE