SINGAPORE: A new integrated tourism development will be set up at the Jurong Lake District by 2026, in line with the Government’s strategy to "spread out its tourism offerings across different parts of Singapore", said Senior Minister of State for Trade and Industry Chee Hong Tat on Tuesday (Apr 16).
“With its unique waterfront environment and location adjacent to the new Jurong Lake Gardens and the new Science Centre, we envision this area to be transformed into a key attraction from 2026,” said Mr Chee, who was speaking at the Tourism Industry Conference.
This area will include attractions, hotels and other lifestyle offerings.
An expression of interest will be launched for the new development, with some players already expressing “keen interest” in the area, said Mr Keith Tan, chief executive of the Singapore Tourism Board (STB). The exercise will close in early November this year.
"We don’t want all the visitors concentrated in one or two precincts or districts around Singapore," Mr Tan added.
"More importantly, it’s important to remember that Jurong Lake District isn’t just about tourism – it’s about developing a precinct that appeals to Singaporeans – it is for Singaporeans – and along the way, we're developing something for tourists as well.
"A lot of Singaporeans have certain preconceived notions about what Jurong is and what it could be.
"So with this project across the Government, we’re hoping to change people’s mindsets about Jurong as well … (It’s seen as) faraway, industrial estate, inaccessible – these are all changing.
"And we have a great opportunity to change them with URA’s plans to make it smart and more connected to the rest of Singapore."
TRANSFORMING TOURISM THROUGH TECHNOLOGY
Digital technology will be used to rejuvenate the Singapore Zoo, Night Safari and River Safari, as a way to present animal encounters in new ways.
A master plan has been drafted for the nature attractions, which will complement the upcoming Mandai eco-tourism hub housing the new Bird Park and Rainforest Park, to open progressively over the next four years.
“This will further strengthen Mandai as a key tourism precinct with world class nature-based attractions, and elevate its international standing amongst other competing attractions,” Mr Chee said.
In addition to these developments, the tourism sector will also get a tech upgrade with three new initiatives.
First, the Sentosa x Enterprise by Sentosa Development Corporation (SDC) will allow businesses to test new concepts and technologies on the island.
It will focus on increasing connectivity and navigation around Sentosa, new offerings to attract visitors, waste and resource management for sustainability and employing technologies that will enhance guest experiences and enhance productivity.
Businesses can benefit from a risk-sharing arrangement with SDC. Successful applicants can have their venue rental co-shared or waived, and enjoy support in infrastructure and other facilitation resources.
In turn, such activities are expected to drive visitors to Sentosa and support SDC’s environmental sustainability goals.
NEW MOUS SIGNED
With the signing of two new memoranda of understanding (MOU), new online marketing campaigns are also expected.
At least 12 marketing campaigns across five Southeast Asian markets are expected to be launched under STB’s partnership with Indonesia-based travel app Traveloka.
The number of Singapore attractions and activities featured on Traveloka’s online platforms will be increased by 15 per cent in order to gain greater insights on the travel habits and patterns of tourists from Indonesia, Malaysia, the Philippines, Thailand and Vietnam.
Additional collaborations to promote the new Jewel Changi Airport and local events, such as the Great Singapore Sale and the Singapore Food Festival, in Indonesia are also being discussed.
The other MOU, signed between STB and Alibaba Group, aims to increase the existing collaborations for the Chinese market.
Under this MOU, STB will work with key business units in the Alibaba ecosystem over the next three years to engage Chinese travellers.
Both organisations will create content to target young families and young professionals in China.
Lastly, to capitalise on these growth opportunities, STB will create a Tech College to better prepare tourism businesses and make data and technology a strategic differentiator for Singapore.
From June, STB and the Singapore Hotel Association will organise a series of Smart Hotel Transformation Workshops. These will focus on areas such as digitalisation and marketing, with the aim to identify opportunities for design and innovation, as well as to plan their technological roadmap.
Tourism has accounted for around 4 per cent of Singapore’s GDP over the past three years. It has also provided more than 60,000 jobs within its core industries, including hotels, attractions, travel agents, as well as the meetings, incentives, conventions and exhibitions (MICE) segment.