Singapore Prime Minister issues travel warning 

By Ethan Anderson Updated
Singapore-Hong Kong air travel bubble on ice as COVID-19 cases rise

International travel is unlikely to return to pre-COVID-19 levels until at least 2022, according to Singapore’s Prime Minister.

Mr Lee Hsein Loong issued the dire outlook for city-state casino resorts Marina Bay Sands and Resorts World Sentosa.

Mr Lee has led the island city-state’s government since 2004, but 2020 has been a year like no other.

“Travel is not going to return to normal next year. Maybe in two years’ time,” he said at last Thursday’s Asia-Pacific Economic Cooperation.

Participating APEC countries include Singapore, United States, China, Japan, SOuth Korea, Australia and Canada.

“You cannot just go back to the old rules where you buy a ticket and within a few hours you get on the plane,” Lee said.

Lee said governments will continue jockeying to protect their own people.

“If I have more cases than you, you are afraid of me,” he said.

“Once you have that kind of relationship, it’s very difficult to open up.”

Since the start of the pandemic, Singapore has reported 58,143 coronavirus cases.

Only 28 people have died as a result of the respiratory disease, but the US Centres for Disease Control has issued a “Warning – Level 3, Avoid Nonessential Travel on Singapore.

Singapore forced its two integrated resorts to shutter operations in early April, but they were permitted to reopen July 1.

The two massive multibillion-dollar complexes are struggling to keep their rooms filled and casino floors busy amid the pandemic.

The Singapore Tourism Board reported that in quarter one, the latest disclosed three-month period, tourism spending dropped 39 per cent.

International visitor arrivals were down more than 43 per cent and the hotel industry saw room revenue plummet 31 per cent.

This was before the pandemic truly set in and led Singapore into a lockdown with stay-at-home orders.

Quarter two and three will be even worse for the two parent casino companies – Las Vegas Sands and Genting Group.

New regulator in Singapore 

In the new year, Singapore’s two casinos will be regulated by a new authority.

Beginning in 2021, the Singapore Casino Regulatory Authority will be replaced with the Gambling Regulatory Authority.

The newly formed agency, Singaporean government officials say, will be better equipped to respond faster to emerging products and trends.

Last year, Genting and Sands both received licensing extensions through January 2031.

But in their agreement with Singapore, they must each invest another $3.3 billion into their properties.

Genting Singapore inks deal with Canon

Genting Singapore Limited and Canon Inc have announced the signing of a basic agreement to form a partnership relating to “cutting edge technologies, products and solutions” for a world-class IR.

Asgam reported in July that the agreement includes the implementation of Canon’s intelligent surveillance, security and video solutions to be utilised on the gaming floor and at other attractions at Resorts World Sentosa.

Aside from boosting security and surveillance, the technology will also allow for the production of new content related to attractions at RWS, such as experience based entertainment and imagery for social media.

Genting Singapore recently launched a US$3.3 billion expansion of RWS and is actively bidding to win one of three licenses to develop an integrated resort in Japan.

News of its latest Canon collaboration was widely distributed to Japanese media, including IAG Japan.

“For the 10 years since we started RWS, Canon has been one of Genting’s top office equipment suppliers,” said Nanami Kasasaki, chief corporate officer of Genting Singapore.

“We are very pleased that this two-way partnership will deepen our cooperation in the future. We look forward to working with Canon to take on the world’s best and most innovative, next generation integrated resort development.”

Canon executive officer and president of Canon Singapore added: “I’m very pleased that this collaboration with Genting can be extended to surveillance and security business with intelligent functions.

“Our state-of-the-art camera equipment and intelligent solutions are certified to comply with Singapore’s stringent regulatory requirements and are very appropriate for installation and use at RWS.

“The collaboration with Genting also includes the implementation of Canon’s video solution technology to RWS’ front line entertainment facilities. We are confident that Canon’s projection mapping and content solutions will provide a unique experience for guests throughout the entire resort.”

Genting and Canon will introduce new monitoring and security related solutions this year.

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