Regional governments reacting to Covid-19 testing campaign, says APTRA

By Luke Barras-hill |

Singapore will relax travel curbs on Chinese visitors from 6 November subject to a negative PCR test on arrival.

The Asia Pacific Retail Association (APTRA) says advocacy efforts aimed at pushing authorities to standardise Covid-19 testing for passengers is gaining momentum.

Since launching its latest campaign less than a month ago, 10 governments across Asia Pacific have responded positively including Australia, Brunei, China, Hong Kong, India, Indonesia, Japan, Malaysia, New Zealand and Thailand.

More reactions are expected from the 45 governments that have been targeted.

Sunil Tuli, President at APTRA said: “This campaign has definitely created the most positive response to date in 2020 from governments across the region. We are confident we have hit the right buttons, engaging several important ministers to formally recognise the issues facing the travel retail industry.

Sunil Tuli, President, APTRA.

REACTION FROM ‘SEVERAL SENIOR OFFICIALS’

“Advocacy takes considerable effort behind the scenes and the results do take time. However, we have received personal responses from several senior officials and this recognition of APTRA, as a significant trade association, is a positive step towards the outcome our industry needs.

“APTRA will continue to engage with governments and, where possible, we will join forces with larger organisations in aviation such as IATA and ACI. This is an example of APTRA’s power in presenting a collective, industry voice – one that represents all types and sizes of businesses in travel retail.”

APTRA’s calls echo what have been concerted efforts for some time now from the region’s aviation, travel and tourism ecosystem to ramp up testing to reopen borders safely while reducing the need for quarantining.

In separate but related news, APTRA has welcomed plans for a Singapore and Hong Kong air ‘travel bubble’. There have been suggestions that this arrangement could kick-in this month.

In addition, from 6 November visitors from Mainland China and Victoria State (Australia) can enter Singapore without having to quarantine, subject to a polymerase chain reaction (PCR) test upon arrival at the airport.

If the result is negative, travellers will be allowed to pass freely within Singapore’s borders.

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