Singapore Targeting September for Opening Border to International Travelers

Posted on: July 27, 2021, 08:33h. 

Last updated on: July 28, 2021, 10:07h.

Singapore remains relatively closed to the rest of the world because of ongoing COVID-19 concerns. And that is greatly damaging the nation’s two integrated casino resorts — Marina Bay Sands and Resorts World Sentosa — and inhibiting their pandemic recoveries. 

Singapore travel Marina Bay Sands casino resort
The iconic Marina Bay Sands towers over Singapore. The casino resort, one of two in the nation, eagerly needs foreign travelers to prop up its business and ignite a pandemic recovery. (Image: Getty)

Currently, entry into the sovereign island city-state is only available for citizens and permanent residents, as well as tourists and business travelers from Brunei, mainland China, New Zealand, Taiwan, and Vietnam. Varying entry regulations are in place, including presenting a recent negative coronavirus test and mandatory 14-day quarantine requirements.  

In an address this week, Singapore Finance Minister Lawrence Wong divulged details regarding the nation’s reopening ambitions. The finance chief said the goal is to begin welcoming more international travelers in September.

We will start by establishing travel corridors with countries or regions that have managed COVID-19 well, and where the infection is similarly under control,” Wong explained.

Singapore remains home to a cluster of COVID-19 cases. Blaming the more contagious delta variant, health officials confirmed 136 new cases today. 

Casinos Struggling

Marina Bay Sands has long been cited as the gold standard of the integrated resort (IR) industry. It’s also been the world’s most profitable casino nearly since its 2010 opening.

But the unmissable three towers connected with a 1,120-foot platform that features an Instagram-worthy infinity pool relies on foreigners for the vast majority of its business. Its 160,000-square foot casino floor and more than 2,500 hotel rooms have been largely vacant since the pandemic’s onset.

Prior to the health crisis, Sands and Resorts World Sentosa agreed to invest $3.3 billion each into their respective IRs. That’s in exchange for their ongoing duopoly on casino gambling running through January 2031. 

Sands’ $3.1 billion investment will result in a fourth tower. It’s a project that Sands says will still happen, despite the economic impact caused by the pandemic.

“We remain very committed to Singapore to expanding our presence and our footprint. Obviously, COVID has thrown a monkey wrench, a big monkey wrench in this whole thing. But this is an extraordinary market. Why do we invest in Singapore? We’ve done very well there. And the addition is going to happen,” explained Las Vegas Sands CEO Rob Goldstein earlier this month.

Vaccinations Required

Singapore hopes to allow more foreigners in this fall. But the nation is also likely to allow its citizens and permanent residents some advantages in exchange for becoming vaccinated. Wong said COVID-19 restrictions will first be relaxed for those who are vaccinated. 

If you want to attend a large event or a religious service involving more than 100 persons, you have to be fully vaccinated,” Wong declared in a statement overviewing Singapore’s next steps in its pandemic response. “If you want to go out to dine in a restaurant or work out in a gym, you have to be fully vaccinated.”

By September, Singapore health officials expect 80 percent of all citizens and residents to be fully vaccinated. Currently, about half are vaccinated.