Singapore to host World Economic Forum and opens ‘travel lane’ for business

The World Economic Forum (WEF) announced on 7 December that it is to convene a Special Annual Meeting 2021 in Singapore from 25 to 28 May, an in-person meeting to bring together leaders to focus on shaping solutions to the world’s most pressing challenges. The WEF will return to its usual venue – Davos-Klosters in Switzerland – for its Annual Meeting in 2022.

The Special Annual Meeting 2021 in Singapore will be the first global leadership event to address worldwide recovery from the pandemic. The change in location reflects WEF’s priority in safeguarding the health and safety of participants and the host community. After assessing the current COVID-19 situation, the WEF decided that Singapore was best placed to hold the meeting.

WEF executive chairman Klaus Schwab said: “A global leadership summit is of crucial importance to address how we can recover together. The Special Annual Meeting 2021 will be a place for leaders from business, government and civil society to meet in person for the first time since the start of the global pandemic. Public-private cooperation is needed more than ever to rebuild trust and address the fault lines that emerged in 2020.”

During the usual ‘Davos week’, which runs from 25 to 29 January, WEF is to host a virtual event – the Davos Agenda – to feature online participation from heads of state and government, chief executive officers, civil society leaders, global media and youth leaders. WEF also plans to host a Global Technology Governance Summit in Tokyo from 6-7 April. This will feature global stakeholders from government, business and civil society dedicated to ensuring the responsible design and deployment of emerging technologies through public-private collaboration.

Singapore opened a ‘travel lane’ for business, official and high-economic-value travellers in mid-December to enable visitors to come to the without quarantine for short-term stays and reside in a dedicated bubble facility near the airport. The city-state moved to the third and final phase of its national Covid-19 response strategy on 28 December.

People from all countries can apply for the new travel lane, but must adhere to its strict health and testing protocols. Successful applicants can stay in Singapore for up to 14 days and will be housed in a ‘bubble’ within a dedicated facility at the Singapore EXPO, about a five-minute drive from Changi airport.

As well as observing all prevailing safe management measures, applicants must undergo testing upon arrival and then on days three, five, seven and 11 of their stay. They will be able to conduct meetings at the facility, but if they are meeting with locals, visitors must remain behind floor-to-ceiling dividers.

Connect@Changi will have more than 670 guestrooms, as well as more than 150 meeting rooms with capacity to accommodate from four to 22 attendees. When fully constructed in mid-2021, the facility will include more than 1,300 guestrooms and about 340 meeting rooms. Meals will be delivered to pre-installed shelves outside guest rooms, with vending machines offering additional food and beverage options.

The arrangement is primarily aimed at official and multinational business meetings, as well as medical consultations, private banking transactions and document signings or legal consultations. Its target audience is mainly short-term visitors who don’t intend to stay longer than a few days.

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