Singapore has created a hotel that makes COVID-19-safe business meetings possible, in an attempt to give long-haul commercial travel a boost. But while the new facility will makes meetings possible, it also makes the fun parts of business travel impossible.
The island state's offering is called Connect@Changi and is a four-star business hotel created inside the Singapore Expo convention center that's just a couple of kilometers from Changi airport.
The facility promises transfers from Changi Airport, ongoing COVID-19 testing, three meals a day and concierge services. Facilities include an indoor courtyard and workout pods.
But visitors don't get to visit Singapore itself. It's expected they'll instead meet with locals in rooms that offer two airtight compartments, one for Singaporeans and another for hotel guests.
Foreign visitors and locals never physically interact, other than by passing sanitised documents through a small window.
Visitors to Connect@Changi can forego Singapore’s strict 14-night quarantine in favour of safety protocols and COVID tests.
By May the facility aims to offer around 660 hotel rooms starting at 384 Singapore dollars (289 USD) per night, and 170 meeting rooms ranging between 20 and 200 Singapore dollars per hour.
Travelers can therefore get the worst bits of business travel - jetlag and air miles - but miss the perk of squeezing in some tourism or souvenir shopping.
The facility goes a fair way towards illustrating how Singapore will execute the August 2021 World Economic Forum meeting, aka Davos but not in Davos, that is scheduled to take place in the nation.
Singapore is betting the hotel can boost the local economy which, according to the Trade and Industry Ministry, shrank a record 5.4 percent last year as visitor rates dropped by 86 percent. ®