As quarantine measures ease for more travelers, hotels serving as isolation facilities adapt
REOPENING AND RESUMPTION OF TOURISM
The five-star Westin Singapore hotel, which only accommodates guests on notice of stay, told CNA that “well-calibrated and progressive” opening plans will allow the hotel to reopen in the near future and to accept other reservations.
Millennium Hotels and Resorts, which operates properties such as Grand Copthorne Waterfront, Orchard Hotel and M Hotel, said dedicated facilities are still needed for travelers who cannot quarantine at home.
This includes those who have recently traveled to Category IV countries, such as Bangladesh and India, as well as other travelers who do not have a suitable place of residence to give notice of stay.
The group has six hotels in Singapore, and four are used as homeless people.
The Singapore Hotel Association, which represents 160 hotels, also said that the gradual reopening of Singapore’s borders “signals a positive step towards the resumption of tourism and a good cause for optimism in 2022”.
International tourism contributed more than 90% of hotel revenues in Singapore before the pandemic, association president Kwee Wei-Lin said.
âWhile Singaporean residents and permit holders may choose to serve (their home stay notice) at home, most transiting international travelers will continue to seek hospitality services for which Singapore is known. “
DOES THE VTL DIAGRAM CHANGE THE GAME?
Earlier this month, Singapore also announced that it would lift quarantine restrictions for fully vaccinated travelers from more countries under the Vaccinated Travel Corridor (VTL) program, such as South Korea, the Kingdom United and the United States.
Under this program, vaccinated travelers can travel without quarantine between Singapore and 11 countries.
Mr. Kevin Wee, senior lecturer at the School of Business Management at Nanyang Polytechnic, said the VTL program is an important step towards “standardizing” travel.
âThe approved numbers for VTL have been encouraging, with over 2,000 on the first day of VTL claims – although these were more long-term travelers. However, VTLs cover both short-term tourists and long-term travelers. They might not stay in hotels, âhe said.
“VTLs will re-energize hotels as they now have the ability to reactivate their procedures, systems and protocols to prepare for welcoming international travelers.”
But it will be some time before visitor numbers return to a level that leads to a significant improvement in hotel occupancy rates or to pre-COVID-19 numbers, Wee added.
Dropping home stay advisories for travelers will also give hotel staff “a bit of a morale boost” as they juggled multiple roles during the pandemic, Wee said.
“The return to normal (or the look of it) will certainly be welcomed by the industry, and I believe these face-to-face interactions with tourists will refresh and rejuvenate the hotel staff.”