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06 December 2012

Resorts World Sentosa grand opening, Marine Life Park and the many attractions of Singapore

All photos courtesy Singapore Tourism Board
S.E.A. Aquarium, Marine Life Park
Click here to see photo gallery of the RWS Dec 7 Grand Opening.

Story by Judith Rubin, InPark co-editor -- Resorts World Sentosa (RWS) has seen many an opening and soft opening over the past few years. According to the Singapore Tourism Board, there have been 12 major launches in 3 years at the 49-hectare, integrated resort. With the Dec 7 opening of Marine Life Park as a primary anchor of the property, the full resort is having a Grand Opening, which might be its biggest opening ever.


S.E.A. Aquarium, Marine Life Park

Readers may recall the Sentosa Island of the 1990s, which pales in comparison to today's RWS behemoth. The Genting Group-owned RWS is a model of successful, interdependent attraction and hospitality development - family-friendly, with a casino driving its economic engine - and its influence can be seen throughout the industry but particularly in Asia and the Middle East. In addition to Marine Life Park, RWS is home to Universal Studios Singapore, the Maritime Experiential Museum, Crane Dance, Lake of Dreams, six hotels, and much more (see additional news story links at end of article).
Adventure Cove at Marine Life Park

Serene Tan
In conversation at the 2012 IAAPA Attractions Expo (November, in Orlando) Serene Tan, Regional Director, Americas at the Singapore Tourism Board, pointed out Singapore's inherent advantages: “Singapore is a good place to do business – we all speak English plus a second language. There's a lot of diverse culture: it's an immigrant state with many festivals, all kinds of food, and strong in entertainment attractions. We have one of the best zoos – and the first 'night zoo' in the world [Singapore's Night Safari, part of Wildlife Reserves Singapore].”

Universal Studios Singapore at Resorts World Sentosa
Also growing is Science Centre Singapore, referred to by Tan as an “important stakeholder in the tourism landscape.” Tan reports that the science center has plans to expand in the short- mid- and long-term. Short term: a $30 M investment will add a virtual aquarium and more activity to draw young people.

Gardens by the Bay, with Supertrees
Green values are enforced: Tan reports that 70% of Singapore has been kept green and that new leisure developments always contain a garden or park component, whether it's the Sky Park 57 stories up at Marina Bay Sands, or the slightly more conventional Gardens by the Bay, a 250-acre, waterfront public garden that Tan calls the “Central Park of Asia.” 

Supertrees at Gardens by the Bay
Since opening in June 2012, Gardens by the Bay has drawn special notice and praise for its 18 "Supertrees." Striking in appearance, the Supertrees are vertical garden structures, 25-50 meters high and covered in climbing plants. During the day, the Supertrees' large canopies provide tree-like shade and shelter. At night, they come alive with lighting, projected media and a specially-composed light and sound show known as the OCBC Garden Rhapsody. Eleven of the Supertrees boast sustainable features that enable them to function something like real trees, harvesting solar energy via photovoltaic cells and exhausting air from greenhouses. Two of the Supertrees are connected by an aerial walkway, and the largest houses a treetop bistro.

Infrastructure is another of Singapore's strong points. Tan noted the capacity of the airport (up to 60M passengers) a convenient mass transit system and relatively inexpensive taxis, plus density. “You can see it all in a short amount of time.” Access will be further enhanced with the doubling of berth capacity at the international cruise terminal, enabling more cruise ships to dock.

Night Safari
One of Singapore's top tourist markets is India, whose people Tan describes as “affluent travelers with great affinity for the island.” China, Japan, Southeast Asia, Europe (especially the UK) and the US are all significant markets as well.

All these new attractions will provide plenty of interest when the attractions industry meets in Singapore next June 4-7 for the 2013 IAAPA Asian Attractions Expo at Marina Bay Sands. -- J.R.

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