Singapore is reopening its borders to business travelers … kind of. I’m sure this concept is going to get pretty popular, but to me this is just the saddest version of business travel ever and it also raises some questions about how long Singapore plans to keep its borders closed.
[email protected] brings back “safe” business travel
Singapore’s borders have been closed for almost a year due to the coronavirus pandemic and there are no signs that this will change anytime soon. However, the country is a business hub and has just launched a concept designed to bring back business travel in some form.
[email protected] is a new facility at Singapore EXPO that allows people from all over the world to hold face-to-face business meetings with Singapore residents without the risk. Think of this as a business travel bubble in Singapore.
[email protected] Outside
The facility opened this week and initially has 150 guest rooms and 40 meeting rooms. The rooms offer space for four to 22 people.
[email protected] reception
How does it work [email protected] Concept work?
- Business travelers from all over the world can apply for the SafeTravel Pass at [email protected] System to enable them to conduct face-to-face business meetings with companies in Singapore
- When the foreigner lands at Changi Airport, they will be driven straight to the airport [email protected] Facility, and will not be allowed to leave until you return to the airport
- Travelers will need a negative COVID-19 test prior to travel, then another COVID-19 test on arrival (and must stay in their room until the results are in) and then depending on the length of stay, on days three, seven and 14 to be retested
- Foreign business travelers are completely isolated and receive three meals a day in their room, although there are some amenities such as: B. Fitness pods (which can only be used by one person at a time).
- Then travelers can hold face-to-face business meetings with locals in conference rooms even though there are airtight panes of glass separating people on either side. There are different entrances and exits, different ventilation systems, and when documents need to be signed they are cleaned up before being transferred between pages
[email protected] public areas
[email protected] Guest room
[email protected] Meeting room
[email protected] Meeting room
For those wondering, prices for this seem to start at ~ SGD 410 (~ USD 309) per night. This includes three meals a day, round-trip airport transfers, a minibar, and more.
Singapore considers this to be “the new normal”
Words fail me about this whole concept, and I don’t even know what to make of it:
- Isn’t this where we just accept that video conferencing is the way to go because it’s not like you can network with someone or enjoy a meal?
- At the same time, for cultures and companies where building personal relationships was important, I could see that this is being used to a certain extent, even if I personally don’t see any credit for it
- The whole concept just seems so ridiculous to me as you are basically traveling to a bubble that is not much different from what is possible with high tech video conferencing
The other thing that I find interesting here is that this is just the beginning of this concept for Singapore. This facility continues to expand, and by the end of 2021 Singapore is hoping to accommodate 1,300 travelers at a time.
In other words, Singapore doesn’t see this as a temporary solution. A promotional video about the facility states, “Singapore is paving the way for executives around the world to meet again.” This is “designed for the new normal.”
While I never expected Singapore to be among the first to reopen their borders, I wonder what exactly the country’s plan is. Remember that in order to access this “business bubble” in the first place, you will need to be tested before you travel, tested on arrival, and retested on the third day. And that doesn’t even give you access to land outside of this facility.
Obviously, vaccine adoption differs significantly across the world. Here in the US, many of us are hoping that life can mostly return to normal this summer (with some adjustments, of course). Personally, I think that’s realistic. But when you see a country opening those business bubble hotel rooms at the end of 2021, calling this “the new normal”, you have to be amazed …
[email protected] is a new business travel facility in Singapore that allows individuals to hold face-to-face business meetings. The problem is that it is actually somewhere between a face-to-face meeting and a virtual meeting in the sense that you can only interact with others through an airtight glass sign in a boardroom.
What I find much more interesting is that Singapore doesn’t even see this as a temporary solution, but as a new normal for management.
What do you think of that [email protected] Concept and from Singapore’s point of view that this is the new normal?
(Hat tip to Curtis)