Singapore is set to be one of the first Asian destinations to reopen to British tourists with plans to host fam trips for the UK travel trade as early as the first quarter of 2021, it has been claimed.

The city-state hosted two-day event TravelRevive this week, the first in-person travel and tourism conference to take place in the Asia-Pacific region with coronavirus safety measures in place.

Representatives from the Singapore Tourism Board revealed a new initiative, ‘SingapoReimagine’, focusing on how the industry can rebuild in the wake of the Covid-19 crisis.

Chee Pey Chang, assistant chief executive international group for the Singapore Tourism Board, said: “Singapore will be one of the first destinations in Asia that will be ready to receive visitors from the UK market. We have in place very stringent safety and sanitation programmes to ensure the health and wellness of our visitors, so they should have no concerns about Singapore.

“We are very open to working with the UK travel trade to create new itineraries for customers to consider.

“We hope to host a couple of travel trade fams in the next couple of months to highlight some of the new activities. It’s a part of the recovery process, if you want them to plan new itineraries, we need to bring them here.

“I think we will be looking at doing it in the first half of 2021… even the first quarter of next year. If we are looking at some sort of recovery in the second half of 2021, we need to make sure the products are in place and we need experts of the travel trade to put them together.”

Singapore has reopened its borders to a handful of countries including China, Australia, New Zealand, Brunei and Vietnam, but UK travellers are not currently permitted to enter the country for leisure travel despite the addition of Singapore to the UK’s travel corridors list in September.

A quarantine-free ‘travel bubble’ that was due to open between Singapore and Hong Kong on November 22 has been postponed following a spike in cases in the latter.

Chang said a renewed focus on domestic tourism in Singapore had forced local suppliers to create new products, including themed walking tours and hotel packages, which could then be rolled out to the international market once borders reopen.

He added that the tourist board in the UK had been hosting webinars and training to keep agents and operators up to date on safety protocols in the city, which include PCR testing on arrival and the use of contact tracing app Trace Together.

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