SINGAPORE: Connect@Changi, a dedicated facility that allows business travellers to stay and conduct meetings without having to serve quarantine on arrival, has welcomed its first batch of overseas guests.
The pilot short-stay facility, developed by a Singapore consortium led by Temasek Holdings, opened its doors last month as part of Singapore’s efforts to resume international business meetings amid the COVID-19 pandemic.
READ: Singapore opens Connect@Changi facility, allowing business visitors to meet without serving quarantine
Among the first to check in is Mr Olivier Leroux, who flew in from France on Monday and will be staying for five days at the facility, said a press release from Connect@Changi on Tuesday (Mar 9).
Mr Leroux is the chief executive and president of Oasis Smart Sim, a French and Singapore-based firm providing certified eSIM, iSIM and Cloud SIM solutions.
“During the course of his stay, Mr Leroux will be conducting around four to five business meetings with his team based in Singapore, as well as business associates and partners in Singapore,” the press release said.
Other confirmed guests that the new facility will be receiving include business travellers from Germany, Indonesia, Japan, Malaysia and the United Arab Emirates, who are expected to arrive this month.
Since its launch, Connect@Changi has received “a steady stream of enquiries” from business travellers coming from various regions such as Asia, Europe and the United States, a spokesperson told CNA.
It is also exploring opportunities with trade partners, including “tie-ups with travel networks and airlines looking into having special room rates tied to airfare”.
Connect@Changi, which has been billed as the first of its kind in the world, said it allows business travellers to meet their Singapore-based counterparts, as well as guests from other countries, “safely”.
The accommodation facility which also serves as a business centre is "bubble-wrapped" such that the visitors do not mingle with the community in Singapore.
Meetings at the facility are held in specially-designed meeting rooms with air-tight glass panels to reduce the risk of transmission.
Large-scale video conferences can also be held, to allow for hybrid meetings.
All foreign travellers checking into Connect@Changi would be required to go through a rigorous COVID-19 testing regime throughout their stay. These include a polymerase chain reaction test on arrival at Changi Airport, as well as on days three, seven and 14 of their stay.
The minimum length of stay is 24 hours, while the longest is 14 days.
The facility will also deploy “innovative solutions” to minimise contact between guests and frontline staff members, such as pre-installed shelves located outside guest rooms for meals to be delivered.
Guests can also go to self-service coffee kiosks and vending machines for food and drinks, or order food delivery from Changi Airport.
In the first phase of the project, Connect@Changi will have 150 rooms and 40 meeting rooms that can hold four to 22 attendees. It will expand in phases to reach a full potential capacity to host about 1,300 business travellers.
At the launch of the facility last month, Deputy Prime Minister Heng Swee Keat said the resumption of business travel and international meetings is important for catalysing economic recovery in Singapore and the region amid the COVID-19 pandemic.