The following is a slightly abridged version of a letter sent from Singapore Tourism Board Executive Director of Europe, Ms Carrie Kwik, to the organisation’s partners on that continent, and explains how Singapore plans to open up its economy in a safe manner this summer.
As global economies including countries in Europe start to reopen slowly this summer, I thought it will be an opportune time to share with you how Singapore also plans to do so in a safe and sustainable manner.
Singapore has continued to take a gradual and calibrated approach to re-opening with a focus on protecting lives and livelihoods of locals and visitors, and to deal with the coronavirus pandemic effectively and openly.
On 1 June 2020, the ‘Circuit Breaker’ period (stringent measures introduced stringent measures that mandated closure of non-essential businesses, schools etc, designed to reduce transmissions of Covid-19 – ed) in Singapore officially ended. Subsequently, on 2 June, we announced that Singapore will start allowing passengers to transit through Changi Airport.
The Circuit Breaker (CB) period had commenced on 3 April 2020.
On 8 June, Singapore also launched the first fast lane travel between Singapore and six provinces and municipalities in China. This allows business travel and official travel to start again with a government agency sponsor supporting applications to enter.
Singapore’s Ministry of Foreign Affairs and Ministry of Trade and Industry are concurrently in conversations with other countries and regions to expand this initiative further. That said, I wish to seek your understanding that the reopening of our borders will be a gradual process.
It will take some time before we can welcome all international travellers to Singapore, as we have to balance health considerations and the needs of our economy and people.
We have also rolled out the SG Clean quality mark as part of a nationwide effort to uplift sanitation and hygiene. Businesses and establishments will undergo rigorous checks by professional third parties to be certified ‘SG Clean’, thus instilling public confidence and giving assurance that certified facilities uphold good sanitation standards and hygiene practices.
As of 1 June 2020, 13,000 SG Clean Quality Mark certificates have been issued, of which more than 800 were tourism-related establishments. We aim to certify over 32,000 establishments in the upcoming two years to ensure a high level of hygiene and sanitation is maintained. For example, more than 95% of establishments on Sentosa island, a must-visit among tourists, have already been certified. The full list of SG Clean establishments can be found at https://sgclean.gov.sg
The Singapore government has announced more than SGD$90bn (nearly 20% of GDP), worth of support measures to strengthen our economy and to help local businesses and workers. These include enhanced provisions for highly affected sectors like aviation, tourism, F&B, transport and arts and culture. STB has also rolled out programmes to support our industry partners’ international marketing efforts via the Marketing Partnership programme, as well as the creation of content assets through the SG Stories Content Fund. These efforts will help Singapore to maintain crucial mindshare in our key markets, including Europe, and boost our trade partners’ confidence, so that we are well-prepared to welcome back visitors when global travel picks up.
We will continue to plan for regular platforms to update our overseas partners on what is happening in Singapore. If you have more ideas on how we can collaborate to reach your clients, please do not hesitate to contact us.
Thank you for your continued confidence in Singapore. We are all looking forward to meeting up again and also to welcome you back to rediscover our city.
Executive Director, Europe Singapore Tourism Board