10 things to know before visiting Singapore for INTA’s 2020 Annual Meeting

things to know before visiting Singapore for INTA IPHub Asia

The International Trademark Association (INTA) is conducting its 142nd Annual Meeting in Singapore from 25 to 29 April this year. We hope you will join us. As you make preparations to attend, we’d like to inform you of the things to know before visiting Singapore. This will ensure you have a successful and memorable trip.

1. Visa

Visa is not a requirement for everybody. In fact, passport holders from the European Union, USA, Australia, South Korea, Switzerland and Norway may visit Singapore for up to 90 days without a visa. People holding passports from North Korea, India, China, Russia and other countries, require a visa to enter the country. Citizens of Afghanistan, Egypt, Sudan, Yemen etc. require a visa vignette in their passport to enter Singapore. You can find out more details about the Singapore visa and the visa application process here.

Please take into account the current threat of the Novel Coronavirus outbreak, which has initiated certain precautionary measures. From 1st February 2020 onwards, all new visitors with a recent travel history to mainland China will not be allowed entry into Singapore or transit through the country. Also, new visas or visa-free transits to those with the People’s Republic of China (PRC) passports have been suspended. Ensure that you stay updated with news on border control measures.

2. Climate

Singapore has a tropical climate – warm and humid throughout the year. There are also chances of thunderstorms during the day. So, it pays to pack an umbrella and rainwear, as well as light, breathable clothes.

3. Dress code

There is no official dress code in Singapore. Wardrobe choices are best made keeping in mind the weather, and of course, the occasion. Cotton and linens that breathe work well, as well as comfortable footwear, if you’re planning on touring the city. Dress conservatively when visiting religious places. In the office, gents do not normally wear a jacket. Wearing a long-sleeved shirt, with or without a tie, is usually how people dress for work in Singapore.

4. Public transportation

Singapore has an excellent transportation system. Every part of the city is well-connected by bus, train or taxi. The Singapore subway system – the MRT, is efficient and affordable and you can find an MRT station within walking distance from any corner of the city. Consider getting an EZ-Link card, a smart card for payment, from any sales point across Singapore for transit. You can recharge them at most MRT stations. Buses are convenient and comfortable, affording great views of the city. You can learn more about the bus service here. The rush hours are mostly from 7am – 10am and from 6pm – 9pm.

Taxis are convenient and metered but may be expensive due to possible surcharges. If you plan on using cabs, here is some information on taxis in Singapore that might be useful.

5. Accommodation 

While hotels may seem expensive and Airbnb may provide a suitable option for accommodation, travellers should note that short-term rentals are illegal in Singapore. The law prevents housing rentals for under 6 months, and 3 months in the case of private housing, without the explicit permission of the Urban Redevelopment Authority.

INTA has secured rooms in 27 hotels across the city. Please view the hotels within the INTA hotel block and their pricing. You will need to register and pay for the Annual Meeting before booking your room.

6. Useful apps

There are various apps that can help you navigate Singapore easily. The Visit Singapore app compiles the best experiences for every type of traveller. Apart from its lifestyle offerings which include food and entertainment, it has a currency converter, a directory of useful numbers to use in case of an emergency and a guide to the free Wi-Fi spots.

City Mapper provides information on all train and bus routes, providing travel options with respect to time, cost and even energy expended. If you want a cab, use the Grab app to hail a ride, any time of the day.  

7. Food and alcohol

Singapore is a food lover’s paradise, home to international cuisines and Michelin-starred delicacies, local creations, and hawker classics. It has diverse dining options, but there is also a vast difference in pricing, depending on where you dine. Almost all restaurants and cafes charge a 10% service fee over the usual consumption tax, making tipping unnecessary at such establishments. However, it is encouraged when you experience good service. Hawker centres and fast food outlets do not charge for these taxes, but locals do not tip at these places.

Alcohol is taxed and expensive and it’s important to note that it is forbidden to buy or drink in public after 10.30pm in Singapore, although you can enjoy a drink at a restaurant or in your hotel room.

8. Local restrictions

Singapore is called “The Fine City” for more than one reason. To ensure you adhere to their strict standards of behaviour, you need to know about the restrictions the country imposes.

·   As explained above, drinking in public places between 10.30pm and 7am is illegal. Also, on weekends, public holidays and the eve of public holidays.

·   Smoking is prohibited in certain public areas. It is also not allowed to bring e-cigarettes and e-cigars into the country.

·   Overstaying your visa invites fines, imprisonment, corporal punishment and deportation, depending on the length of overstay.

·   Littering is punishable with fines for small items such as candy wrappers and a Corrective Work Order for bigger items like bottles and drink cans.

·   It is illegal to sell or import gum in Singapore. Its improper disposal or carrying large quantities of gum invites a hefty fine.

·   Eating or drinking, breastfeeding, smoking, and carrying flammable goods are banned in public transport.

9. Cost and currency

The Singapore dollar is used here, in denominations of S$2, S$5, S$10, S$50, S$100, S$1,000, and S$10,000 for paper notes. Coins come in 5 cents, 10 cents, 20 cents and 50 cents, as well as S$1 denominations. It’s helpful to carry some cash with you, especially at older hawker centres, kopi-tams (coffee shops) and residential neighbourhood stores. ATMs and money changers are widely available and credit cards can be used nearly everywhere.

The city is expensive. Luxury, safety and cleanliness come at a price. You can compare Singapore with your country with respect to costs, here.

10. Medication

If you’re bringing personal medication into Singapore, it is a good idea to check with Singapore’s Health Science Authority (HSA). It is also recommended that you carry your doctor’s prescriptions and retain all medicines in their original packaging. You are not allowed to bring in personal medication that contains prohibited substances. You can use this online tool to find out whether your medicines contain any of these substances.

11. The Annual Meeting venue

The International Trademark Association will be holding its 142nd Annual Meeting in Singapore at the award-winning event venue, Sands Expo® and Convention Centre at Marina Bay Sands. In fact, it is the first green venue in Southeast Asia to attain the ISO 20121 certification for event sustainability management.

The Sands Expo® and Convention Centre lies in the heart of the Central Business District, and is Singapore’s largest and newest conference and meeting site which can accommodate up to 45,000 delegates. It offers world-class dining, entertainment among which a casino, shopping, art, culture and accommodation options under a single roof. It is also in close proximity to Singapore’s other tourist attractions. It is a 20-minute drive (19.7Km) from Changi airport and a 2-minute walk from the nearest MRT, Bayfront.

INTA also invites you to its grand finale at Universal Studios Singapore. You can look forward to a night of fun, and your last chance to network at this enjoyable location. Hors d’oeuvres and drinks will be provided, and you will have full access to the park and its rides, as well as the aquarium. Shuttles will commute between select hotels and the venue (which is on Sentosa) all night.  

As you prepare to travel to Singapore, we urge you to stay updated on the status of INTA’s upcoming Annual Meeting in the city, given the unfolding situation with the Novel Coronavirus. Kindly check the INTA website for further updates and notifications.

Singapore is home for us. Contact us if you need further details to help make your stay in Singapore more enjoyable during INTA’s 2020 Annual Meeting.

You can also visit our website to learn about us and our services.

About the author

As Founder and Managing Director of IPHub Asia, Dorothee is passionate about trademarks and the importance they hold in any business – small or large, in the Asian ecosystem. She has been living in Asia since 2003 and is up-to-date with the legislative changes of each country with regard to trademarks and other IP rights. She also enjoys visiting the South-East Asian region and is eager to discover new ways of doing business, embrace other cultures and meet new and disruptive entrepreneurs.

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