SINGAPORE - More than 2,300 travellers vaccinated against Covid-19 have received approval to enter Singapore in the 16 days since the application window for a new travel arrangement opened.
As at 11.59pm on Thursday (Sept 16), 2,241 travellers from Germany and 81 travellers from Brunei have received approval to enter Singapore via the Vaccinated Travel Lane (VTL) between Sept 8 and Oct 22.
Under the scheme, vaccinated travellers from the two countries can enter Singapore and go about their activities without having to serve a stay-home notice period. But they will have to take up to four Covid-19 polymerase chain reaction (PCR) swab tests during their trip.
Travellers who are not Singaporeans or permanent residents will have to apply for a vaccinated travel pass under the VTL in order to enter Singapore.
The Civil Aviation Authority of Singapore (CAAS) said on Sunday that of the vaccinated travel passes issued for Germany, 962 were for short-term visitors. The remaining 1,279 were issued to long-term pass holders.
For Brunei, CAAS said it has issued 74 passes to short-term visitors and seven to long-term pass holders.
Travellers from both countries will have to fulfil several conditions, such as having stayed in Brunei, Germany and/or Singapore for the last 21 days prior to departing for the Republic.
To be eligible for the VTL, an individual must have been fully vaccinated in his country of departure or Singapore. He is considered fully vaccinated only two weeks after he has received the full regimen of the Pfizer-BioNTech/Comirnaty or Moderna vaccine, or other vaccines on the World Health Organisation's Emergency Use Listing.
Experts have said the VTL is not expected to generate a significant amount of inbound traffic.
But it still remains significant in terms of providing the most viable option for Singapore residents to go for leisure travel overseas since the Covid-19 pandemic forced borders to shut in March last year.
While Brunei remains closed to leisure travel, Germany has been open to travellers from the Republic since October last year. This means Singapore residents can use the VTL scheme to travel without quarantine in Germany or Singapore.
Mr Steven Ler, president of the National Association of Travel Agents Singapore (Natas), said travel agents have received encouraging interest for travel packages to Germany.
"People are still really looking forward to travelling and we do see that with all the inquiries coming in for year-end travel," said Mr Ler.
"In the next few months, we should see a very gradual increase in the number of inquiries and bookings for all agents."