Singapore’s Minister of Foreign Affairs Vivian Balakrishnan says the city-state’s authorities aim to see the number of flights and other connections with China returning to pre-Covid 19 levels.
His comments were reported by local media outlet The Straits Times. They were made during a visit to Beijing.
There are currently 56 flights a week linking Singapore and China, as compared to 400 flights a week prior to the Covid-19 pandemic, The Straits Times reported, citing comments by Mr Balakrishnan (pictured, left) during a meeting with China’s Minister of Foreign Affairs, Qin Gang (pictured, right).
“One of the KPIs [key performance indicators] I have been set is to try to get this [flight] number back to what it was as soon as possible,” the Singapore official said.
Mr Balakrishnan led a delegation from Singapore to Beijing for a three-day visit from February 19 to February 21.
Both Singapore and China “agreed on the importance of doubling down on efforts to promote post-pandemic recovery”, including through the “full resumption” of flights between the two nations, stated Singapore’s Ministry of Foreign Affairs in a Monday statement on the meeting between Mr Balakrishnan and Mr Qin.
Mainland China scrapped from January 8 quarantine requirements for people arriving to the country from overseas, as the nation moved away from its previous ‘zero-Covid’ policy.
Singapore is home to a casino duopoly consisting of the Marina Bay Sands resort – developed and run by Las Vegas Sands Corp – and Resorts World Sentosa, built and promoted by Genting Singapore Ltd.
Prior to the Covid-19 pandemic and related travel restrictions, Chinese players were an important business segment for Singapore’s two casinos.
Maybank Investment Bank Bhd wrote in a note on Tuesday that, “if [flight] booking trends from China for the second half of 2023 are strong and hitherto industry mass market gross gaming revenue (GGR) holds, there could be upside” for the city-state’s casino industry, namely for Genting Singapore.
Maybank analyst Yin Shao Yang however noted that Singapore’s mass-market GGR had already recovered to 2019 levels, “even without Chinese gamblers”.
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