SINGAPORE: Singapore is opening three new tourist attractions – including the US-based Museum of Ice Cream – even as global travel remains limited amid the COVID-19 pandemic.
The museum, popular with Instagram users for its rainbow sprinkle pool, will open in the second half of this year in Dempsey.
This will be its first location outside the US, the Singapore Tourism Board (STB) announced at an annual industry conference on Wednesday (Apr 7).
Also slated to open later this year is Slingshot, a new thrill ride concept at Clarke Quay.
Set to be the tallest in Asia, it will catapult riders to almost 70m into the air at a speed of 160km per hour.
This will replace the G-Max Reverse Bungee, a similar ride at Clarke Quay which stopped operating in 2019. Construction of the Slingshot has just begun and is expected to take around four to five months, general manager Ken Lee told CNA.
The third addition to Singapore's tourist offerings is SkyHelix Sentosa, the country's first open-air panoramic attraction. This is set to open in 2022 at the Imbiah Lookout, a short walk from Singapore Cable Car’s Sentosa station.
Operator One Faber Group said the new attraction will allow people to “enjoy a drink in an open-air panoramic attraction that rotates and ascends 35m above ground level to reveal 360-degree views of Singapore’s southern coast”. More details will be shared later this year, its spokesperson added.
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REFRESHING ORCHARD ROAD
Apart from new attractions and accommodation options, the STB will continue to refresh existing tourism precincts, such as the country’s prime shopping belt Orchard Road, said the tourism board's chief executive Keith Tan.
Together with the Singapore Land Authority and Urban Redevelopment Authority, it will launch a tender for a new attraction concept at the vacant site between Somerset Skatepark and Killiney Road later this year.
Speaking to reporters after the conference, Mr Tan said the authorities are keen on a youth-oriented concept that is sustainable and low-impact. The attraction also has to add to STB’s goal of transforming Orchard Road into a lifestyle district.
The tourism board is also working with the Orchard Road Business Association to scale up the annual Christmas light-up and shopping events later this year. The transformation of the open-air Grange Road car park into an event space is expected to be completed next year, he added.
“These projects are a welcome breath of fresh air amongst the COVID-19 negativity in the past year,” said Mr Tan. They also add to existing initiatives that are helping the battered tourism sector get ready for recovery, he said.
As international travel slowly resumes, the safety of both residents and visitors has to remain a priority, Mr Tan said.
Singapore has taken various approaches in its careful resumption of travel, including setting up Connect@Changi, a short-stay facility for business travellers to meet without having to serve quarantine. It has also rolled out reciprocal green lanes with several countries and resumed some high-profile sports and business events.
STB will continue to explore different channels and formats of events, especially in the lead-up to the World Economic Forum in August, said Mr Tan.
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STB has also been facilitating transformation in the industry, both in terms of pivoting to the domestic market amid the pandemic and digitalisation, said Mr Tan.
Many new packages and experiences have been launched for the domestic market, said Mr Tan, noting that this “may well be one of the most fertile periods” in the Singapore tourism sector.
“Many of these new products will be relevant to our visitors so don’t lose the gains that you have made and make sure you keep expanding your repertoire so that there is much more to offer to international visitors when they do come back to Singapore.”
On digital transformation, STB will step up support by launching a new platform to test new solutions called Tourism Technology Transformation Cube (Tcube) and extending the Singapore Tourism Accelerator programme for another two years until September 2023.
To ensure the workforce is equipped with skills needed in a post-pandemic world, it will partner NTUC to develop a Tourism Sector Capability Development Roadmap this year.
EXTEND TARGETED SUPPORT
However, headwinds remain in the near term, which is why targeted support from the Government will continue.
Also speaking at the conference, Minister for Trade and Industry Chan Chun Sing announced that a S$68.5 million top-up will be made to the Tourism Development Fund.
Enhanced support levels will also be extended until end-March next year. This includes the Business Improvement Fund and the Training Industry Professionals in Tourism grant, which have helped businesses to upskill their workers, innovate and adapt.
“We remain committed to supporting our tourism sector, to help businesses and workers build new capabilities, and break new ground,” he said.