Connect@Changi receives first batch of guests

Published Tue, Mar 9, 2021 · 11:21 PM

[SINGAPORE] The first batch of travellers to make use of a dedicated business meeting facility at Singapore Expo have arrived, coming from countries as varied as Germany, France, Indonesia, Japan and the United Arab Emirates.

Connect@Changi said on Tuesday (March 9) that guests at the facility can meet both their Singapore-based counterparts and guests from other countries safely, given its suite of specially-designed meeting rooms that have air-tight glass panels.

Among its first guests is Mr Olivier Leroux, chief executive officer and president of Oasis Smart Sim, a French and Singapore-based company.

Mr Leroux flew from France and will stay at the facility for five days, during which he will meet his partners in Singapore between four and five times.

Connect@Changi did not say how many guests it has received since its official launch in February 18 with 150 guest rooms.

The first-of-its-kind facility in the world is part of Singapore's efforts to position itself as a global business hub for pandemic times. Due to Covid-19, face-to-face meetings have ceased, including between business leaders based in different parts of the world.

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By restricting business travellers to the bubble of the facility, and with regular testing and precautions such as glass panes, the facility seeks to allow international business meetings to resume in a new normal under the prevailing conditions.

When fully operational later this year, Connect@Changi has said it will be able to host up to 1,300 business travellers at any one time.

Observers have previously said that if successful, the facility should give a boost to Singapore's reputation as a global business hub by instilling confidence in travellers that it can pull off such meetings safely.

Companies previously told The Straits Times that face-to-face meetings are important for its employees to reconnect, and are especially crucial for high-value deals between firms.

Under the scheme, travellers will be shuttled to Connect@Changi from the airport and must remain within the facility throughout their stay. Regular Covid-19 tests will be conducted in lieu of quarantine, which is the biggest deterrence for travel for both business and leisure purposes.

Mr Leroux said he needs to be able to meet his team based in Singapore and process some paper work. "Connect@Changi offers that possibility," he said. "I am excited to discover the facilities." Connect@Changi said contact between guests and frontline staff are minimised, with pre-installed shelves outside guest rooms for meals to be delivered and self-serve coffee at Starbucks kiosks.

Guests can also order local and international cuisines from Changi Eats, Changi Airport's food delivery service.

Room rate starts at S$384 for a 24-hour stay, including three meals, mini-bar, toiletries, two-way airport transfer and Covid-19 tests.

The project is developed by a Singapore consortium led by Temasek and which includes The Ascott, Changi Airport Group, Sheares Healthcare Group, SingEx-Sphere Holdings and Surbana Jurong.

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