HONG KONG/SINGAPORE — The Hong Kong-Singapore Air Travel Bubble is a first for the global travel industry: a collaboration between Hong Kong and Singapore to welcome quarantine-free travel between the two countries starting November 22.
Known as the ATB, its goal is to provide a safe travel experience in the two countries, both of which have managed to significantly suppress their COVID-19 transmission rates. Both destinations have citywide certification programs for hygiene and safety: The Hong Kong Tourism Board has rolled out the Anti-Epidemic Hygiene Measures Certification Scheme and the Singapore Tourism Board’s SG Clean is a national mark of excellence awarded to businesses that meet specific sanitization standards.
For show organizers like Michael Duck, Executive Vice President – Asia, Informa Markets, the long-awaited ATB is a must to rebuild confidence among business travelers and to restart events.
“I am very optimistic that this action will pave the way for others to follow suit,” he said. “Coupled with the recent news of the Pfizer vaccine in possibly two-plus months’ time, it will bring back confidence, initially for regional markets and then some time after for long-distance travel. We have to reduce the anxiety caused by this awful virus and this is a real first step for the international trade show business.”
Both tourist boards will be rolling out special gifts and promotions for customers as part of the launch, such as a limited-edition reusable face mask. Travelers on the first ATB flights out of both cities on November 22 will also be treated to a special in-flight menu that includes local favorites from Hong Kong and Singapore, curated by Cathay Pacific and Singapore Airlines, which will be available on all ATB flights until the end of this year.
Added Aloysius Arlando, President of SACEOS, an association for the MICE industry in Singapore, “SACEOS is very encouraged that a quarantine-free travel bubble between Singapore and Hong Kong, two major hubs in Asia, is now being tested. It will be an important pilot and a step forward for instilling confidence in international travel and visitors in our respective communities. We believe that this travel bubble, when demonstrated successfully, can serve as a reference point for other countries and regions that have controlled the pandemic in their jurisdictions, and are contemplating opening their borders. This will go a long way in reinstating international travel and rebooting the meetings and events industry in a safe and calibrated manner.”
Reach Michael Duck at 852 2516 2119 or email@example.com; Aloysius Arlando at +65 6413 2160 or firstname.lastname@example.org.