Singapore cops can now take leave – hotel rooms released

SINGAPORE: Hours after United States President Donald Trump cancelled his planned meeting with North Korean leader Kim Jong-un, which was to have been held in Singapore on June 12, police officers have been told yesterday that they are now free to apply for leave during the period.

Several hotels which had blocked off or taken back rooms that were already allocated to tour agencies, as they prepared for a jump in visitors for the summit, have also returned the rooms to the travel sector.

Marina Bay Sands (MBS) had done this even before the official announcement of the summit cancellation was made on Thursday night.

The Shangri-La Hotel has now done the same, sources said.

Both hotels had been seen as the likeliest locations for the summit, although the actual venue was never confirmed.

For more than two weeks after it was confirmed that Singapore would be the venue for the historic summit, preparations had been in full swing to welcome the two leaders and their delegations, as well as foreign journalists.

From civil servants to uniformed officers, US embassy staff to the hotel industry, hundreds, if not thousands, of man hours would have already gone into this, observers said.

On the US and Singapore side, press accreditation had also begun, to register journalists who would be attending the summit.

For the Shangri-La and MBS, as well as other hotels that had set aside room inventory for the summit, it is now business as usual.

Despite the uncertainty in the last two weeks about where the summit would have been held, the hotels are not expected to suffer any significant loss of revenue.

Neither the Shangri-La nor MBS would comment, but observers said that some uncertainty is normal in the hospitality business.

“There is invariably some risk assessment involved in the lead-up to such big events,” said an industry veteran who asked not to be named.

“Until the bookings are made, we don’t always know what the exact demand will be, so we rely on past trends and patterns to gauge. At some point, if there is still no confirmation, we will have to decide whether or not to release the rooms and if so, at which point to do this,” she said.

In this case, with more than two weeks to go before June 12, there should still be time to fill the rooms that had earlier been blocked.

She added: “It’s all part of being in the hospitality business.” — The Straits Times / Asia News Network

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