Mumbai: Singapore remains one of the top three outbound travel destinations for Indians. 15 cities in India have direct flights to Singapore. With such a high level of interest, Singapore has to continue to invest and reinvest in their products to remain attractive to especially repeat visitors. “Every few years, we have new attractions to showcase,” said Chang Chee Pey, Assistant Chief Executive, International Group, Singapore Tourism Board (STB).
Jewel Changi, a mixed-use development project at Changi airport which opened last year has been one such attraction. Jewel is giving today’s travellers an idea about what will airport experience of the future be like.
“We are trying to get people to spend more time at Jewel, 6-8 hours ideally,” added Chee Pey. “It is a great way to wrap up the vacation to Singapore – check out at noon from the hotel; flights to India are at night. Spend second half of the day at Jewel which offers plenty of shopping and dining options, and loads of fun for kids.”
Mandai, in northern Singapore will be developed into a 126-hectare ecotourism hub. The area now houses the Singapore Zoo, River Safari and Night Safari. But from as early as 2020, they will be joined by two new attractions – the Bird Park, which will be relocated from Jurong, and the new Rainforest Park. There will also be a brand new resort managed by Banyan Tree.
Two attractions at Resorts World Sentosa (RWS) will welcome visitors for the final time on March 1, 2020 as they make way for RWS 2.0. The Crane Dance and the Maritime Experiential Museum will be closed for the redevelopment of the waterfront promenade and the expansion of the S.E.A. Aquarium respectively. At 10 stories high, the Crane Dance is one of the world’s largest dancing animatronics show extravaganzas. Under RWS 2.0, a new Waterfront Lifestyle Complex will be built housing two destination hotels, exciting dining and lifestyle experiences, and an iconic public attraction replacing the Crane Dance. The S.E.A. Aquarium will be expanded, taking over the adjacent Maritime Experiential Museum, and elevated to the next level to become a much larger aquarium and rebranded as the Singapore Oceanarium. At Universal Studios Sentosa, two new areas – Minion Park and Super Nintendo World – will be added. Minion Park will replace the current Madagascar area.
Also on the cards is expansion of Marina Bay Sands – a new tower to the existing three towers. This will be an all-suites hotel with 1000+ rooms and a new rooftop experience. There will be a 7000 seat indoor arena for concerts, sporting events and MICE, making it the first purpose-built arena in Singapore.
“India is our number one source market for cruises,” said G B Srithar, Regional Director – India, Middle East & South Asia, STB. “We are working with trade to raise awareness around cruising. This year we plan to do more cruise promotions.” The Marina Bay Cruise Center which opened few years ago has been a game-changer. Plans for a new cruise terminal are underway. Last year, Royal Caribbean committed to a whole year deployment. Dream Cruises is already using Singapore as its home port for Asian itineraries.
In 2019, trade engagements in close to 30 cities were completed by STB, up from 22 in the previous year. “We need to do a lot more of activations in tier II, III and IV cities,” commented Lim Si Ting, Area Director – West & South India, STB Mumbai Office. We are working with many travel agents, tour operators and airlines, to penetrate tertiary markets.”
About the recent visit to OTM 2020, Chee Pey said: “We went there to asses OTM to see if we can add to the calendar. We are very positive about the event and what we have seen there.”