SINGAPORE is seeking to launch new lanes for vaccinated travellers by the end of the year as negotiations with several countries, including European and US destinations, continue.
Trade minister Gan Kim Yong, who also co-chairs the Singapore government’s Covid taskforce, expressed hope that talks will be successful as trial travel with Brunei and Germany has so far run smoothly.
“Vaccinated travel lanes are going to play an increasingly important role in international travel,” Gan told Bloomberg News.
“As more and more countries ramp up their vaccination rate this will become a reality because most countries will begin to insist on the vaccination before they allow travellers to enter the country,” he said.
Singapore has decided to gradually reopen borders with vaccinated travel lanes and other measures, but the city state is also combating a new wave of infections despite having one of the highest vaccinations rates in the world.
Gan said efforts to establish more travel lanes should be increased cautiously “by the end of the year or even earlier”.
Meanwhile, the International Air Transport Association (Iata) expects commercial global travel demand to double next year, reaching 44 per cent of 2019 levels. The association’s annual general meeting in Boston heard of projections showing the commercial aviation industry will see recovery as domestic and international demand increased.
Iata leaders called for more streamlined risk-management procedures for the reopening of borders with standardised checks.
“Travel restrictions bought governments time to respond in the early days of the pandemic,” Willie Walsh, Iata’s director-general, told the meeting.
“Nearly two years later, that rationale no longer exists. Covid-19 is present in all parts of the world. Travel restrictions are a complex and confusing web of rules with very little consistency among them. And there is little evidence to support ongoing border restrictions and the economic havoc they create.”