More than boosting Singapore’s economic competitiveness and reputation as a smart city, Jewel Changi Airport reminds Singaporeans that nothing is impossible when when one dreams big.
This is what Prime Minister Lee Hsien Loong said on Friday (Oct 18) and added that it has also enhanced the appeal of Changi Airport as a tourist destination, noting that foreign leaders he has spoken to have “gushed” over the S$1.7 billion complex.
Reflection of Singapore’s journey
According to PM Lee, Changi Airport is special to Singaporeans, illustrating its development as a reflection of the country’s journey from third world to first world status.
“Who would have imagined that when we decided to shift our airport from Paya Lebar to Changi, that one day we would make it the best airport in the world,” he asked.
Mr Lee shared that in 2013, he was deciding whether or not to include plans for Jewel and other upcoming plans for Changi Airport in his National Day Rally speech that year.
The prime minister recalled that focus groups were not enthusiastic about it, adding that some people felt that ending the speech with such infrastructure plans were too cold and impersonal.
Mr Lee eventually decided to carry on with the announcement, adding he wanted people to understand that Jewel and Changi Airport were not just about infrastructure.
“Instead they represented an idea; they were a symbol. They epitomised how in Singapore, we must dream boldly to create new possibilities for ourselves,” he said.
“It was an act of faith to believe that Changi could do this, and that Singaporeans, working together, could make amazing things happen,” he added, noting that in the end, Jewel was the only thing people remembered from his speech that year.
Millions of visitors
“Last year 65 million travelers used the airport, including those on transit,” he noted.
“I am confident that with Jewel, this year Changi will break that record,” Mr Lee said at the official opening of Jewel on Friday.
Mr Lee said that Singaporeans are “rightly” proud of Jewel as it had seen over 50 million visitors since April – when the 135,700 sqm entertainment and retail complex first opened its doors to the public. /TISG