Following its announcement of more Vaccinated Travel Lanes (VTLs) on Saturday, the city-state has said it is working to expand travel to more countries, including its regional neighbors.
Singapore aims to reestablish the city-state as an international aviation hub with the expansion of its VTL scheme to more countries ahead of the year-end holidays.
From October 19, VTLs will be launched with Canada, Denmark, France, Italy, the Netherlands, Spain, the United Kingdom and the United States, with South Korea to be added on November 15. Singapore currently has VTLs with Germany and Brunei, launched September 8 under a pilot scheme.
Under the scheme, fully vaccinated travellers will be able to enjoy quarantine-free travel both ways. However, there is a currently a limit of 3,000 arrivals under the scheme.
Pre-Covid, these countries accounted for about 10 percent of arrivals, Transport Minister S. Iswaran told «The Straits Times» on Monday.
These countries under the VTL scheme are «collectively an important set of partners» for Singapore, Iswaran said in an interview, noting that the countries have significant investments in Singapore and are among the top 20 trading partners, with sizeable business communities and families here.
«We want to do more, but in a manner that is cautious and calibrated,» the minister said, adding that Singapore is currently in discussions with counterparts around the world, including its regional neighbors.
Since the announcement over the weekend, there has been a rush to secure tickets. Singapore Airlines’ website crashed on Saturday afternoon amid the surge in demand, while visitors to its service centre at Ion Orchard had to wait in line for several hours.