Over 18,200 visitors have entered Singapore on an Air Travel Pass as of 8 Apr from countries that the city-state has unilaterally opened its borders to, said the Civil Aviation Authority of Singapore (CAAS) on Tuesday (13 Apr).
In response to queries from CNA, CAAS noted that the figure includes about 2,400 visitors from Australia, 800 from Brunei, 300 from New Zealand, 800 from Taiwan and 1,100 from Vietnam.
China makes up about 70 per cent of the total number of 12,800 Air Travel Pass visitors to Singapore.
In comparison, Singapore had about 3,627,120 visitors from China in 2019, excluding Hong Kong and other markets in China.
The Air Travel Pass allows leisure travellers to enter Singapore without having to follow any restriction on their itineraries, but they will be required to undergo a COVID-19 PCR test upon arrival.
Currently, the travel arrangement is only available to travellers from Australia, Brunei, Mainland China, New Zealand and Taiwan.
CNA reported in February that applications from Vietnam were suspended from 9 Feb due to the spike in COVID-19 cases there.
On 6 Oct last year, Transport Minister Ong Ye Kung told Parliament that the level of risk from these places is “no higher than that of a Singapore resident coming from Jurong or Sembawang” because these countries have the same incidence rates as Singapore.
“Their governments will decide if and when to reciprocate for travellers from Singapore,” he said. “Once they do that, aviation links between us would have been restored. There is no need for lengthy bilateral negotiations.”
Mr Ong believes that such unilateral openings were meaningful as they represent “a standing invitation”.
“Although the other countries are not ready to lift their restrictions now, Singapore can be top of mind when they are ready eventually,” he noted.