Safe bubble for business travellers to Singapore materialises

The Phase 1 launch of the four-star hotel and meeting facility Connect@Changi (C@C) on February 18 has kicked off the Connect@Singapore scheme to reopen Singapore’s borders by providing a “bubble” environment for high-level executives to do business face-to-face once they touch down in the city and test negative for Covid-19.

C@C, which offers an integrated “test-stay-work-meet” experience for Singapore residents and international travellers, occupies the former Singapore Expo Hall 7 which was repurposed into a Covid-19 care facility. C@C opened with 150 hotel rooms and 40 meetings rooms which can accommodate between four and 22 participants.

Connect@Changi is the first facility to open under Singapore’s safe travel Connect@Singapore scheme

There will be 660 guestrooms and 170 meeting venues when Phase 1 is completed by May 2021, and the facility can host 1,300 business travellers at any one time when it is fully completed later this year.

Billed as the first of its kind in the world, C@C room rates start at S$384 (US$290) inclusive of three meals daily, mini-bar, room amenities, Wi-Fi, airport transfers and Covid-19 tests required during the stay, according to its press release.

The pilot purpose-built accommodation to facilitate safe meetings between business travellers from across the globe is being developed by a local consortium led by Singapore-headquartered global investment company Temasek and includes The Ascott Limited, Changi Airport Group, Sheares Healthcare Group, SingEx-Sphere Holdings and Surbana Jurong.

Aloysius Arlando, chief executive, venues of SingEx-Sphere, told TTGmice, demand is expected to come from senior official meetings, MNC corporate meetings, business negotiations, document signing, legal consultations and wealth advisory service companies.

He said Singapore-based heads who have not met critical overseas staff face-to-face in a year, one-on-one or in a “board meeting environment” would be potential customers.

The consortium is bullish about demand from the US, Europe and Asia for the facility, which took 14 weeks to be repurposed again between Christmas and the Lunar New Year.

Arlando said: “Phase two details are now being worked out and all options are being looked at to determine what we can cater for as more people get vaccinated.”

C@C, he added, offered a “new advantage” to Singapore Expo to be the vehicle to restart the economy, revive the country’s aviation hub position and provide an “overnight” solution to hold high-value business meetings with border restrictions still in place.

Unlike air travel bubbles, green lanes and reciprocal travel corridors which broke down due to subsequent waves of Covid-19 infections and new virus variants, C@C was a permanent bubble and safe meeting venue, Arlando noted.

Advanced MedTech Holdings, a global medical technology leader, will be one of the first companies to conduct business activities at Connect@Changi.

Lee Weikang, senior director, business development, said the Singapore-headquartered firm plans to hold its first in-person global senior leadership meeting of up to 30 business executives at the facility – its first since the pandemic began early last year.

Additional services for C@C guests include tax and duty-free shopping, food delivery by Changi Eats and a personalised online shopping concierge service.

Bookings can be made at or through the Connect@Changi mobile app.

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