Dig into ice cream museum or Slingshot 70m into the air
They are among four new attractions lined up as tourism sector gears up for recovery from pandemic
An ice cream museum and a thrill ride in Clarke Quay are some of the new attractions Singaporeans can expect this year, as the Republic seeks to enhance its attractiveness to prepare its hard-hit tourism sector for recovery.
Sentosa will also welcome a new attraction next year, the SkyHelix Sentosa, an open-air rotating gondola that will ascend 35m above ground and offer views of Singapore's southern coast.
There are also plans to have a new attraction at the vacant site between Somerset Skate Park and Killiney Road, in line with the Government's aim to enhance the appeal of the Somerset area.
Announcing these plans yesterday at the Tourism Industry Conference, an annual event organised by the Singapore Tourism Board (STB) for industry players, Mr Keith Tan, STB's chief executive, said the new projects will support the tourism sector and increase its attractiveness.
"These projects are a welcome breath of fresh air among all the negativity and bad news in the last year.
"Since the pandemic hit, we have focused on how to weather this 'long winter'," said Mr Tan, adding that it is time to focus on how Singapore can prepare for the future and thrive as an attractive destination.
Considerations STB takes into account when working with new operators include whether new attractions will complement the existing suite of attractions here and introduce something different to Singapore.
Slated to open in the second half of this year, the Museum of Ice Cream Singapore will feature multi-sensory installations themed around the frozen treat, which visitors will get to taste during their visit.
Located in the Dempsey area, it will be the Museum of Ice Cream's first foray outside of the US, and visitors can expect features similar to those at the US attraction, such as a sprinkle pool, a pit filled with colourful bits resembling the confectionery often used to decorate desserts.
Also set to open in the second half of this year is the Slingshot, a thrill ride at Clarke Quay next to current attraction GX-5 Extreme Swing, which drops riders from a height of 40m.
When it opens, it will be the tallest Slingshot in Asia and will catapult riders almost 70m into the air at a speed of up to 160km an hour. The ride, which can also be found in 70 other locations, will replace the G-Max Reverse Bungee, a similar ride that stopped operating about two years ago.
Tickets will be similarly priced to those for the GX-5 Extreme Swing, at about $45 for adults and $35 for students.
Those who are not adrenaline junkies can look forward to the SkyHelix Sentosa, where they can enjoy a drink on a rotating platform while taking in views stretching from Sentosa to the Keppel Bay area.
One Faber Group, which runs services, attractions, and food and beverage outlets in and around Sentosa, said SkyHelix Sentosa will "deliver a new recreational experience and add excitement to the cluster of attractions at Imbiah Lookout".
The first of its kind in Singapore, it will be located at a spot that is a short walk from Sentosa's cable car station.
Apart from these new projects, STB will continue to refresh tourist attractions and precincts in Singapore, said Mr Tan.
For example, it is working with the Orchard Road Business Association to scale up the association's offerings of its signature Christmas on a Great Street festive events during the year-end light-up, as well as its Black Friday sale events later this year.
Future of tourism lies in sustainability, innovation and wellness
Instead of waiting for world borders to reopen, Singapore needs to disrupt the status quo. For the tourism industry, the next big moves lie in sustainable travel solutions, technological innovation and holistic wellness.
This was highlighted by speakers at the opening of the Tourism Industry Conference yesterday.
Minister for Trade and Industry Chan Chun Sing said the tourism sector had faced disruption even before the Covid-19 pandemic.
For instance, apps were replacing tour guides, maps and travel agents, and virtual or augmented reality allowed people to enjoy immersive experiences without leaving home.
The challenge is how Singapore will prepare for the long-term future, Mr Chan said.
Sustainable tourism presents growth opportunities, especially as tourists become more conscious about the environment.
The Government will pump $68.5 million into the Tourism Development Fund, which businesses can tap to explore new areas, including sustainability.
"In terms of the abundance of land and natural landscapes, Singapore might not be able to compete directly with other eco-destinations," Mr Chan said.
But the Republic's progressive and transparent regulatory environment and strong intellectual property protection will make it an attractive place for companies looking to test-bed sustainable tourism products and experiences.
Another strength is the vibrant public and private ecosystem that facilitates effective partnerships for businesses and workers to grow their capabilities, Mr Chan said.
The tourism sector should also leverage technology to create a unique experience for tourists and residents, he said.
"In a world where visitors are not constrained by physical boundaries, travel is no longer just about meeting or sightseeing but the unique suite of experiences it offers to visitors from pre-arrival to post-departure."
To support industry players in digital transformation, STB yesterday launched its innovation platform, Tourism Technology Transformation Cube.
Mr Chan said the challenge for Singapore is to prepare for long-term success and reinvent global travel.
"We are not waiting for a full reopening. Singapore is prepared to disrupt the status quo, transform our products and services, and harness our capabilities to capture the next type of growth ahead."