The Ministry of Trade and Industry (MTI) has some impressive intentions to elevate Singapore’s tourism sector. At a tourism industry event on Wednesday, October 17, tourism specialists gave their recommendations to the MTI on how Singapore can distinguish itself from competing nations’ tourism offers. The suggestions, which included unparalleled theatre entertainment and space tourism, were innovative and incredibly bold.
While the MTI already has current plans to breathe new life into two of its key tourism favorites – Orchard Road and Sentosa – tourism experts are encouraging them to take closer looks at Pulau Brani, the Greater Southern Waterfront and the area around Changi Airport.
At the tourism event, Senior Minister of State for Trade and Industry Chee Hong Tat said that the area of Pulau Brani and the Greater Southern Waterfront is an “expanded canvas … is as large as Sentosa Island itself [and] provides exciting opportunities for us to develop new tourism attractions”.
Ngee Ann Polytechnic senior tourism lecturer Michael Chiam said the waterfront, which boasts of an area three times the size of Marina Bay, could certainly accommodate a theatre experience similar to the Encore Melaka in Malaysia – an unparalleled state-of-the-art performance theatre with a 360-degree rotating audience platform.
Besides housing a theatre of unrivaled experience and cutting-edge technology, Chiam remarked that it could also be turned into work of art, with a water feature such as a waterfall as a backdrop, which would seamlessly flow with the theme of a waterfront location.
Meanwhile, Nanyang Polytechnic’s senior tourism lecturer Kevin Wee was thinking more along the lines of space tourism, referring to the area around Changi Airport as a possible location for a launchpad.
“If Singapore is interested to attract the billionaires and all those guys with a lot of money, this [type of] tourism might make sense,” Wee said.
The MTI shared that a comprehensive set of plans to revamp Sentosa is being cultivated, citing that the government is focusing on improving connectivity and increasing attractiveness for people to visit the island.
Chiam contemplated the idea that Sentosa could be integrated with the infrastructure of Greater Southern Waterfront and Pulau Brani, which would make it more convenient and accessible for visitors.
Currently, according to Chiam, “it is a chore for people to get there”. The lecturer also cited the location of Marina Bay Cruise Centre Singapore, saying it was too “isolated” and therefore should be included in the plans.
Minister Chee told the media that the cruise industry is also an area that Singapore can explore, and that it could be “one of the possible uses for the Greater Southern Waterfront”.
The MTI is also looking for ASEAN nations to partner up with. “With more cruise destinations, more visitors from China, India, Europe, America, we’re better able to offer an exciting itinerary for them, multiple stops within Southeast Asia, and Singapore can be one of these stops,” he said.
Plans for Orchard Road involve completely revolutionizing the shopping belt to turn it into more of an innovation hub for start-ups and entrepreneurs to use as a “living lab” to test new retail concepts and other things. At the same time, it could become a “green oasis” or “an orchard in the city”, said Minister Chee.
The blueprints for the rejuvenation project of the Greater Southern Corridor, Sentosa and Orchard Road will be released within the next six to nine months.
In 2017, Singapore had whopping 17.4 million visitors, with tourism receipts also reaching a record of S$26.8 million.
For the first half of this year, the country played host to 9.2 million visitors, a 7.7 percent increase over the same period from 2017. Fifteen percent of those visitors were in Singapore for business, making up 22 percent of Singapore’s total tourism receipts.
While Singapore’s tourism numbers are breaking its own records, the city-state shuns complacency and instead pushes the envelope with its daring innovative ideas and plans for the near future.