Singapore to trial 'business travel pass' for executives

Senior executives "with regional or international responsibilities" would be eligible for the special pass.

By David Flynn, September 23 2020
Singapore to trial 'business travel pass' for executives

Singapore intends to offer a 'business travel pass' to local executives as the city-state continues to chart its recovery from the coronavirus pandemic.

The pass will be launched as a pilot program, the country's Ministry of Health said in a statement, to bring about a return to business travel "in a safe and calibrated manner."

The pass is aimed at senior executives in Singapore "with regional or international responsibilities who need to travel regularly for official and business purposes."

Upon return to Singapore, pass-holders will be given the option of doing a COVID-19 test in lieu of the otherwise-mandatory quarantine period, provided they self-isolate until the test results come through.

The government the number of passes "will be strictly limited in the initial phase", but if the pilot proves successful it will consider expanding the scheme.

“The idea is to be able to allow senior executives who are based in Singapore with extensive regional or international responsibilities to have a bit more flexibility to travel for work reasons," said Singapore government minister Lawrence Wong.

"So we are starting with a small number, and then we will distribute them out through our economic agencies."

Wong added that the travel pass would apply to "travel to quite a wide range of countries... it’s not going to be country specific."

It would, however, not supersede any bilateral green lane corridors or business fast-track channels, such as opened between Singapore and Japan earlier this month, which include pre-departure and post-arrival COVID testing.

Singapore also has cross-border travel arrangements with China, Malaysia, Brunei and South Korea, and is said to be in discussions with other countries including Thailand and Hong Kong.

Also read: Airlines say mandatory pre-flight COVID tests would kick-start travel


David Flynn is the Editor-in-Chief of Executive Traveller and a bit of a travel tragic with a weakness for good coffee, shopping and lychee martinis.


17 Jan 2018

Total posts 84

At least an attempt to get things moving from a country that considers itself as a pro business regional hub. The problem will be the destination country and their restrictions. It takes 2 to tango. Forget A and NZ. Europe ok.

Jetstar Airways - Qantas Frequent Flyer

24 Aug 2018

Total posts 103

This clearly is a model that other countries ought to consider. Whilst the threat of infection across the globe continues to be evident, folk who accept the conditional requirements, can then get on with their business, rather than sit on their hands talking to a zoom screen, which evidently cannot take the place of a handshake and a signature on paper. A sensible, staged release from current stultifying restrictions which are killing normal economic activities, is a good way to go for more hesitant governments seeking to go back to normality.

Qantas - Qantas Frequent Flyer

16 Jan 2018

Total posts 121

It’s good to see that a country is trying and realises that while we want to eradicate the virus, it’s obviously here to stay for the time being. Looking at ways to travel and minimise the spread is the only way forward. Governments need to have agreements of the specific procedures and these need to be adhered to at either end. As well as by travelers that will ultimately be putting themselves, their families, and others around them, at risk. 

Air New Zealand - Airpoints

05 Nov 2014

Total posts 60

I expect better of Singapore. This is a Very Bad Idea Indeed.

Every country which has attempted on-arrival or pre-departure testing has seen a catastrophic spike in cases due to the virus being seeded back into their country.

The highest risk times with travel are en route to the airport, at the airport, in flight, upon arrival and en route to the hotel. Pre-departure and on-arrival testing cannot pick up ANY of those five leading types of infection.

A vaccine is not far away. Until then we all need to shut up and stay home, or at least within our state. And those people who want to travel put everyone else at risk, and need to be very clearly told so.

Air New Zealand - Airpoints

05 Nov 2014

Total posts 60

Iceland introduced a regime involving testing upon arrival, six days self-isolation, then a second test.

And thanks to some recalcitrant French tourists, who flouted self-isolation, they imported a second wave.

Australia and New Zealand are handling this brilliantly, and just need to hold their nerve and not open up until we are all vaccinated.

Hi Guest, join in the discussion on Singapore to trial 'business travel pass' for executives