Coronavirus Singapore

Business meeting facility at S'pore Expo gets first guests

International visitors can see counterparts in meeting rooms with airtight glass panels

Mr Olivier Leroux, chief executive and president of Oasis Smart Sim, checking in at Connect@Changi after arriving from France yesterday. He will meet his Singapore team and process some paperwork at the facility.
Mr Olivier Leroux, chief executive and president of Oasis Smart Sim, checking in at Connect@Changi after arriving from France yesterday. He will meet his Singapore team and process some paperwork at the facility. PHOTO: CONNECT@CHANGI

The first travellers to make use of a dedicated business meeting facility at Singapore Expo have begun arriving from countries such as Germany, France, Indonesia, Japan and the United Arab Emirates.

Connect@Changi said yesterday that these guests can meet both their Singapore-based counterparts and guests from other countries safely, given its suite of specially designed meeting rooms that have airtight glass panels.

Connect@Changi declined to say how many reservations have been made since its official launch on Feb 18 with 150 guest rooms.

It said it will share guest figures later.

The facility, the first of its kind in the world, is part of Singapore's efforts to position itself as a global business hub for pandemic times.

Due to Covid-19, face-to-face meetings have largely ceased, including between business leaders in different parts of the world.

By restricting business travellers to the facility's bubble, and with regular testing and precautions, it seeks to allow international business meetings to resume under the prevailing conditions.

When fully operational later this year, Connect@Changi will be able to host up to 1,300 business travellers at any time.

Observers have said that if successful, the facility should boost Singapore's reputation as a global business hub by instilling confidence in travellers that it can conduct such meetings safely.

Companies have previously told The Straits Times that face-to-face meetings are important for employees to reconnect, and are especially crucial for high-value deals.

Under the scheme, travellers will be shuttled to Connect@Changi from the airport and must remain within the facility throughout their stay.

Regular Covid-19 tests will be conducted in lieu of a quarantine, which is seen as the biggest deterrent for business and leisure travel.

Business travellers can now meet in specially designed meeting rooms with airtight glass panels at Singapore Expo. Connect@Changi said yesterday that the first travellers to use this facility arrived from Germany, France, Indonesia, Japan and the Uni
Business travellers can now meet in specially designed meeting rooms with airtight glass panels at Singapore Expo. Connect@Changi said yesterday that the first travellers to use this facility arrived from Germany, France, Indonesia, Japan and the United Arab Emirates. It is a first-of-its-kind facility in the world and part of Singapore's efforts to position itself as a global business hub for pandemic times. PHOTO: CONNECT@CHANGI

Mr Olivier Leroux, chief executive and president of Oasis Smart Sim, a company based in Singapore and France, flew in from France yesterday.

He will stay at the facility for five days, during which he will meet his partners in Singapore four or five times.

Mr Leroux said he needs to be able to meet his team in Singapore and process some paperwork.

"Connect@Changi offers that possibility," he said. "I am excited to discover the facilities."

Connect@Changi said contact between guests and front-line staff is minimised, with shelves outside guest rooms for meals to be delivered and self-serve coffee at Starbucks kiosks.

Guests can also order local and international cuisine from Changi Eats, Changi Airport's food delivery service.

The room rate starts at $384 for a 24-hour stay, inclusive of three meals, the use of a minibar, toiletries, two-way airport transfers and Covid-19 tests.

The project was developed by a Singapore consortium led by Temasek and which includes The Ascott, Changi Airport Group, Sheares Healthcare Group, SingEx-Sphere Holdings and Surbana Jurong.

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A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Straits Times on March 10, 2021, with the headline Business meeting facility at S'pore Expo gets first guests. Subscribe