Operators Struggle With Demand As Singapore Opens Up to the World | campus.sg

VTL Singapore
Photo by Anugrah Lohiya from Pexels

With the announcement on Saturday (9 Oct) that Singapore will open up the Vaccinated Travel Lane (VTL) to more countries, searches for airline tickets surged to the point where Singapore Airlines’ website was temporarily down for a few minutes on Saturday.

Travel agencies are also seeing a surge in demand for flights after the announced a plan to start quarantine-free travel with 8 more countries. Travellers from these countries are allowed into Singapore without having to quarantine from Oct 19.

In addition to Germany and Brunei, VTL will be extended to:

  • Canada
  • Denmark
  • France
  • Italy
  • The Netherlands
  • Spain
  • United Kingdom
  • United States

From Nov 15, the VTL will extend to South Korea.

Future VTLs

Travel routes with other countries including Australia, New Zealand, and Japan are also being considered. Singapore is still open to working on a vaccinated travel lane with Hong Kong, after talks of VTL see-sawed over the past year.

Singapore currently allows quarantine-free travel from Hong Kong, China, Macau, and Taiwan, although travellers going to those places may require lengthy quarantine upon arrival.

Since Singapore has a high vaccination rate – at over 83% so far – it has also halved the number of tests that people arriving need to take from four to two, which has made travel more affordable. All travellers entering Singapore under the VTLs from Oct 19 will only be required to present a valid negative COVID-19 PCR test result taken within 48 hours before departure to Singapore and undergo an on-arrival PCR test upon arriving in Singapore. PCR/ART tests are no longer required on Days 3 and 7.

However, there may be requirements for testing depending on your destination, so do your homework beforehand. As always, you should adhere to local social distancing rules wherever you go.

The opening up of more countries on the VTL has coincided with the school holidays, which could be the reason Singapore Airlines said on its Facebook page that there has been “strong demand” for flights and may take longer to respond to queries from customers.

According to travel experts, South Korea and European countries are among the top destinations. Fares on some travel lane routes have increased accordingly.