SINGAPORE - The website for foreign travellers to Singapore to apply for their vaccinated travel pass crashed on Monday (Nov 22) despite the Immigration and Checkpoints Authority (ICA) anticipating that there would be a surge in traffic.
The ICA had upscaled the system for the SafeTravel website over the weekend in preparation for the increase in users as both application windows for Indonesian and Malaysian travellers opened at 10am on Monday.
"But there was an error in configuration," the ICA said on Monday evening. This resulted in the website failing as nearly 35,000 users tried to log in at the same time.
The Straits Times understands that the site went down at about noon, displaying a message that it was undergoing scheduled maintenance.
A check at 3pm showed that it was back up, but a text box, citing high volume, advised users to log in later if they were unable to access the application service.
The ICA added: "We regret the inconvenience caused and thank applicants for their understanding.
"There is no quota for vaccinated travel passes for air travel under the VTL. Singapore citizens and permanent residents do not need to apply to enter Singapore."
Vaccinated travel passes apply only to short-term foreign travellers and long-term pass holders.
Both vaccinated travel lanes (VTLs) between Singapore and Malaysia and Singapore and Indonesia are due to begin next Monday (Nov 29).
Vaccinated travel pass applications for travellers from India also opened at 6pm, and the site continued to experience high volume into the night.
Travel between Singapore and Malaysia has been anticipated for quite some time since Malaysia shut its borders in March last year.
Many families have members on both sides of the border, and the two countries have strong business links. More than 10,000 Malaysians continue to live and work here after nearly 20 months of not being able to be with their families in Malaysia.
Pre-Covid-19, Singapore-Kuala Lumpur was the busiest international air route in the world, with about 40 flights daily and an average of 7,000 arrivals per day at Changi Airport.
Indonesia was one of Changi Airport's top three markets pre-pandemic. Even during Covid-19 last year, it made up 11.6 per cent of the Republic's tourism receipts.
The current VTL, however, is unidirectional - although Indonesian travellers are allowed in without quarantine, Singapore travellers remain locked out of Indonesia.