Several Maldivian resorts could be made exclusive for Singapore residents, resulting in a sealed bubble without tourists from other countries, according to Brendan Sobie, the founder of Singapore-based independent aviation consulting and analysis firm Sobie Aviation.
Last week, Singapore’s Transport Minister Ong Ye Kung revealed measures for expanding reciprocal green lanes to include general travel. Until last week, Singapore was only considering green lanes for business travel. But the destination could take the lead in the Asia Pacific in establishing leisure green lanes, spearheading a partial recovery in international air travel and tourism.
Since Singapore is now open to the idea of leisure travel bubbles, the question now becomes which country will be the first to forge a leisure green lane with Singapore. According to Brandon, Maldives makes the most sense as it provides an ideal pilot programme given the size of the country and type of travel.
“Even in normal times, tourists do not hop between resorts or islands and few bother visiting the capital Male, which is its own island and where most of the local population lives.
After landing, tourists go directly to their resorts and stay there for their entire stay. Excursions consist of boat trips for snorkelling, diving and fishing that involve only guests from their resort.
There would be exposure to staff but a strict testing regime for both guests and employees would significantly reduce any risk. Maldives has reported about 6,000 Covid-19 cases and over 20 deaths since March but most of the islands do not have any recent cases.
There is still a risk associated with any resumption of international travel. However, the leisure green lane concept Singapore is considering can sufficiently manage this risk with Covid-19 testing and strict protocols.
A leisure green lane with Maldives would be of much lower risk compared with any other country, as those would inevitably include some mixing with other tourists.”