SINGAPORE: Come February, a pilot short-stay facility at Singapore EXPO will open its doors to business travellers as part of the new segregated travel lane initiative.
Named Connect@Changi, the facility will have more than 670 guest rooms and about 170 meeting rooms, which will be able to accommodate meetings of about four to 22 attendees, in the first phase of its opening.
When fully constructed in mid-2021, the facility will have more than 1,300 guest rooms and about 340 meeting rooms.
When CNA visited the location on Tuesday (Dec 15), workers were seen going in and out of Expo Halls 7 and 8. Some were working on the covered entrances of the halls, while others appeared to be engaged in wiring work along the pathways.
While the neighbouring Halls 9 and 10 still had their number signs up, Halls 7 and 8 did not.
The facility was developed by a Temasek-led Singapore consortium made up of The Ascott, Changi Airport Group, Sheares Healthcare Group, SingEx and Surbana Jurong.
TRAVEL ARRANGEMENTS AT CONNECT@CHANGI
Travellers must present a valid negative COVID-19 polymerase chain reaction (PCR) test before leaving their home country. After arriving in Singapore, they will have to take another PCR test.
Since they are travelling under the new segregated travel lane, also known as the Connect@Singapore initiative, they will not have to serve a separate quarantine period. Instead, they will be taken directly to the Connect@Changi segregation facility, just five minutes from Changi Airport.
They will be transported in batches based on the flights they arrive on, and they will be separated and admitted into the hotel facility “speedily”, said chief operating officer of Sheares Healthcare Group T K Udairam.
“Most of the registration, all the other administrative features will be done in the background before they come, so that when they come, there will be minimal contact time at the registration desk and then they will just get into their facility.”
The facilities for checking travellers in and out are separated, with “a great emphasis” on safety, said senior managing director at Temasek Alan Thompson. From the moment travellers clear immigration at the airport until they are in their rooms, they are kept segregated from the public, as well as the other batches of business travellers who are departing.
All travellers under the segregated travel lane will have to follow the prevailing national safe management measures, including the wearing of masks.
They will also have to use TraceTogether and SafeEntry so that the authorities can identify close contacts to be quarantined if a positive COVID-19 case arises, said Mr Udairam.
After arriving at the facility, the visitors will check in for their stay. For a stay under three days, room rates start from about S$390 per night for an Executive room and S$430 per night for a Premier room. This includes the cost of testing, three meals per day and transfers from and to the airport.
When a booking is made for the rooms, the traveller's arrival and departure times are captured in the system, and the room rates are calculated on a per hour basis, Mr Thompson added.
“This is so that nobody has to worry about checking in at 11 in the morning and then ... hanging around until their flight to return back to their home country is ready.”
BUSINESS MEETING ARRANGEMENTS
While on their business trip, travellers must stay within their pre-declared travel group of up to five people within the facility and are not allowed to socialise with other traveller groups.
They can, however, conduct meetings with local visitors and other traveller groups in the controlled meeting room environment, where strict safe management measures are in place.
Each meeting room at Connect@Changi will be outfitted with air-tight glass panels that separate the parts of the room occupied by local guests and travellers, so that each group has its own ventilation system. This helps to lower the risk of transmission between the groups.
Local visitors attending a meeting will enter and exit the facility through a door separate from that used by the travellers.
During these face-to-face meetings, members of the Connect@Changi staff will not be around, minimising contact.
After the meeting is over, they may choose to eat together in the room or in their own rooms. No-contact F&B services at Connect@Changi mean meals will be left on shelves outside the travellers’ rooms for collection. There will also be additional vending machines for snacks and beverages, as well as self-service Starbucks kiosks.
When they are not attending business meetings, travellers can browse the food and shopping options provided in their rooms via an e-concierge service or take advantage of their 24-hour access to the Gympods, which allow up to two people inside at a time.
Travellers will have to undergo antigen rapid tests for COVID-19 on days 3, 5, 7 and 11 of their stay.
When their stay is up, they will check out and leave the facility by the exit for business travellers. Any pre-departure tests needed for their arrival in their home country will also be conducted. They will then be transferred to the airport, without contact with the public or other travellers, where they will await their flight home.