Over 36,000 passes issued to non-residents to enter S'pore under vaccinated travel lanes

Singapore has 12 VTLs that have already begun, and four more that will start later in November.
Singapore has 12 VTLs that have already begun, and four more that will start later in November.ST PHOTO: LIM YAOHUI

SINGAPORE - A total of 36,034 short-term visitors and long-term pass holders have received approval to enter Singapore under a quarantine-free travel scheme, in the first two months since it started.

The newer vaccinated travel lanes (VTLs) with South Korea and Australia have received particularly strong interest, based on figures issued by the Civil Aviation Authority of Singapore (CAAS) on Wednesday evening (Nov 10).

As at 11.59pm on Tuesday, a total of 1,999 applicants have received approval to enter Singapore from South Korea in the two days after applications opened on Nov 8.

The 866 short-term visitors and 1,133 long-term pass holders will be able to enter Singapore from Nov 15.

Meanwhile, 2,423 applicants - comprising 1,558 short-term visitors and 865 long-term pass holders - have received the green light to enter Singapore from Australia since Nov 1. They have been able to do so since Monday.

Travellers have to apply for a Vaccinated Travel Pass between seven and 60 days before their intended date of entry. Singapore citizens, permanent residents and children aged 12 and below do not need to apply for a pass.

In lieu of serving quarantine, those entering under the scheme have to be fully vaccinated and be tested for Covid-19 prior to departure and upon arrival. They also have to take designated VTL flights.

Singapore has announced 16 VTLs so far, with countries such as the United States and Britain.

Four of these VTLs - with South Korea, Malaysia, Sweden and Finland - will start later this month.

The other 12 VTLs have begun, with the ones for Australia and Switzerland starting just on Monday.

CAAS told The Straits Times that 151 VTL travellers arrived on the first VTL flights from Australia on Nov 8. They comprised 60 short-term visitors, 24 long-term pass holders, 59 Singapore citizens and permanent residents, and eight children aged 12 and below.

Another 43 VTL travellers arrived on the first VTL flight from Switzerland on Tuesday. There were 15 short-term visitors, eight long-term pass holders, 19 Singapore citizens and permanent residents, and one child aged 12 and below.

According to CAAS' figures, the VTL with the most passes issued so far is with Germany.

A total of 8,475 travellers from Germany have got passes since applications opened on Sept 1 for entry into Singapore from Sept 8.

The VTLs with Britain and the United States ranked second and third, with 7,621 and 5,615 passes issued respectively.

Applications for these two VTLs opened on Oct 12 for entry from Oct 19.

The least used VTL so far is the one with Brunei. Only 409 short-term visitors and long-term pass holders have applied to tap the scheme since applications opened on Sept 1.

Mr Alan Lim, an engagement manager at Alton Aviation Consultancy, said the number of visitor arrivals under the VTLs are modest due to several factors, such as travellers being cautious.

"While the passenger numbers are much lower compared with pre-Covid, it is the number of unique destinations and flight frequencies that are more important measures of an air hub's strength, and the VTL scheme seeks to achieve that," he added.