SBF Welcomes the Introduction of Vaccinated Travel Lanes and Lifting of Border Restrictions for Selected Countries
To be attributed to Mr Lam Yi Young, Chief Executive Officer, Singapore Business Federation
Friday, 20 August 2021 [Singapore] – The Singapore Business Federation (SBF) welcomes the Multi-Ministry Taskforce’s announcement on 19 August 2021 that Singapore will launch Vaccinated Travel Lanes (VTLs), starting with travellers from Germany and Brunei Darussalam on 8 September 2021. We also welcome the lifting of border restrictions for all travel from Hong Kong and Macau from 20 August 2021, 2359 hours (Singapore time). This is an important and significant step in the safe reopening of our borders and is warmly welcomed by businesses.
The COVID-19 pandemic and resultant closure of borders has severely disrupted travel. As a small and open economy highly dependent on trade and tourism, connectivity and travel are critical for the recovery and growth of our businesses. Businesses are keen to restart their travel plans to visit their overseas offices and operations, build stronger relationships with their business partners, establish new business networks and partnerships, and secure new deals in overseas markets. The ability to travel without being subjected to onerous quarantine orders or stay-home notices will greatly facilitate business travel. This is essential for businesses to expand overseas.
The VTLs and lifting of border restrictions will also benefit sectors such as aviation, hospitality, retail, F&B and MICE. Businesses in these sectors can look forward to increases in demand and footfall, which will help in recovery and longer-term sustainability of their business.
Singapore businesses have strong links and interests in Germany and Brunei Darussalam. According to SBF’s National Business Survey 2020/2021, 18 percent and 13 percent of businesses engaged in overseas activities have presence in Germany and Brunei Darussalam respectively. The introduction of VTLs for these two countries is a good and welcomed start. Businesses look forward to the expansion of the VTLs to more regions and countries over time. The regions of interest for Singapore businesses includes Southeast Asia, Northeast Asia and other parts of Europe.
Besides travel, businesses also welcome the further easing of restrictions on returning to workplaces, large scale events and activities, dining-in, and crowd sizes at retail and other premises. These will allow businesses to resume a larger part of their operations to support business recovery and growth.
SBF is committed to helping our members and businesses emerge stronger from the pandemic. We will continue to support our members in their business transformation, digitalisation and internationalisation journey. We also hope to resume overseas business missions soon to help companies seize new opportunities in overseas markets.