Source: Changi Airport Group Source: Changi Airport Group Singapore’s Changi Airport, consistently voted best in the world and a key part of the city-state’s psyche, is reinventing itself for the Covid era and beyond. normal, it offers glamping for families at Jewel, the nature-themed entertainment complex open to the public, as well as a host of vacation offerings, ranging from canopy park tours that involve topiary walks and bouncing on a net of sky, with seasonal menus. Dino Kart Race Track at Terminal 4 Source: Changi Airport Group With an eye further into the future, slices of the neighboring Singapore Expo site are being turned into a giant construction site as 840 halls of meeting and guests are built in no time – part of Connect @ Changi, a sprawling facility to welcome foreign business visitors as part of a bubble initiative. “It gets more crowded, especially on weekends,” said Jasmine Hoon, a waiter at Paris Baguette, a café in Jewel selling high-end baked goods and wraps. “Sales have increased and vaccines also give people hope.” Nearby, children are starting to feel at home in large white tents erected as part of the airport’s Glampcations in the Clouds initiative. People can spend the night amidst the greenery and wake up to the sound of splashing water from the world’s largest indoor waterfall. Prices start at S $ 320 ($ 240) and sites have been full for weeks. Vacation camping and dining deals may be temporary measures, but they’re all part of efforts to boost activity at Changi, whose importance to the small city-state is hard to underestimate. Singapore Prime Minister Lee Hsien Loong was on the verge of tears when he pledged to parliament in September that “Changi will thrive again”, citing its opening in 1981 as a moment of immense national pride. Bright tents at Jewel Changi Airport Cloud9 Piazza Source: Changi Airport Because international visitors are such a catalyst for other economic activities across the island – including food and drink, retail and health – it is difficult to calculate to what extent the border closures have hampered Singapore’s economy. According to government figures, aviation alone accounts for around 3% of gross domestic product, with tourism contributing an additional 4%. At the dawn of 2021, Singapore’s success with Covid allows it to open up to business travel adapted to life in the virus era, notably by convincing the World Economic Forum to move its annual meeting to the Davos jet set. While the return to pre-virus traffic is still a long way off, green shoots are a welcome sign for a place synonymous with global trade and travel. “If you think about Singapore’s role as a regional hub and the whole idea of connectivity and logistics facilitation, then Changi is pretty critical,” said Selena Ling, head of research and communication. treasury strategy at Oversea-Chinese Banking Corp. Gone Quiet Covid halted the steady increase in the number of international visitors to Singapore Source: Singapore Tourism Board Changi Airport, Asia’s third busiest hub for international traffic, has, like all aviation hubs , experienced its fair share of pain. Passenger numbers fell to 24,500 in May, just 0.4% from 12 months earlier. They fell back to 111,000 in November, but it’s still down about 98% from 2019 levels. The 13-square-kilometer (five-square-mile) airport on Singapore’s easternmost point operates two of its four terminals and has suspended construction of a fifth for at least two. years. Some outlets in public and transit areas remain closed due to lack of foot traffic. There have also been other setbacks. A much-anticipated air bubble with Hong Kong that would have avoided quarantine has been delayed after a spike in cases in Hong Kong. Singapore Airlines Ltd. has been hit harder than some regional competitors because it has no domestic market to fall back on. The carrier reported its biggest quarterly loss in September, cutting its workforce by around a quarter with the expectation of operating at almost 20% of capacity by the end of the month, after dropping 5.8 % in 2020, the economy could grow by 4% and 6% this year, according to government estimates. However, according to Ravi Menon, managing director of the Monetary Authority of Singapore, critical industries such as aviation may take longer to recover: some $ 100 billion in stimulus has been pledged so far to support consumers and businesses, with more promises this year. budget due later this year. About half is funded with funds from the nation’s generally prohibited reserves – a stark example of the unprecedented nature of the recession, but with vaccines on the way – Singapore administered its first vaccine last week – hopes are rising. Brighter 2021 Singapore government sees rebound from Covid-induced growth slowdown Source: Singapore Ministry of Commerce and Industry In December, Singapore announced a new route for business travel that will allow people to n ‘anywhere to come without quarantine for short stays. They will need to reside at Connnect @ Changi, which, when completed in mid-2021, will have more than 1,300 rooms and around 340 meeting rooms, and will undergo extensive Covid testing, including on arrival and on days three. , five, seven, and 11. “Ideally, you’d like people to be free to move around, do what they want and spend where they want”, but this is a “good alternative” when we are trying to eradicate the virus, Temasek Said Alan Thompson, Senior Managing Director of Holdings Pte. “This is an attempt to start opening up and reinvigorating the airline and hospitality sectors in Singapore.” The state-owned investment company, along with The Ascott Ltd. and Sheares Healthcare Group, is one of the backers of the facility Tokidoki Snow Holiday at Terminal 3 Source: Changi Airport Group And although the virus continues to rage in some parts of Europe and the United States, re-opening negotiations are continuing with other countries. Non-quarantine pleasure trips have already been opened from New Zealand, Brunei, Australia, Vietnam, Taiwan and China, and there are bilateral agreements with Japan, South Korea and Germany that make it easier for business travelers. Transport Minister Ong Ye Kung, in a Facebook post last month, compared the efforts to a “national resilience project.” “We will make sure that Singapore continues to hum even with Covid-19,” he said. “We are all ready to increase again.” (Updates with GDP data in the 13th paragraph.) Before it’s there, it’s on the Bloomberg terminal. LEARN MORE.