A 450m-long elevated walkway, offering sea views as visitors stroll from Sentosa’s integrated resort to its beaches, highlights plans to help the attraction keep pulling in the crowds.
There will also be a new outdoor attraction on a 1ha plot of sloping land between Imbiah Lookout and Siloso Beach while the island’s iconic 37m-tall Merlion will be revamped with new content later this year. And in August, Singapore’s first 50m-tall bungee tower will open on Siloso Beach.
These additions, the Sentosa Development Corporation (SDC) hopes, will keep the island relevant and competitive as a regional tourist spot. “We are excited by the upcoming developments,” said SDC chief executive Quek Swee Kuan yesterday at a media briefing.
Visitorship to Sentosa has tripled since the Resorts World Sentosa (RWS) opened in 2010 – with 19.5 million visitors in 2015.
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Key to the new plans is the construction of the elevated walkway across the Merlion Gateway, a 12ha precinct that spans from RWS, past the Merlion Plaza and onto the island’s beaches. The walkway, scheduled to be up by 2021, will be wide enough to accommodate wheelchairs and strollers as well.
The Gateway links pedestrians to key transport nodes such as a cable car station, two monorail stations and a coach terminal. Currently, guests can get from RWS to Merlion Plaza via an overhead bridge. The walkway, when completed, will be able to carry more pedestrians. SDC has called for architect-led consultancy teams to submit an “expression of interest” comprising a plan for the redevelopment. A separate tender will be called in the first quarter of 2019 for its construction.
“The redevelopment of the Merlion Gateway precinct is a key near-term project that will pave the way for Sentosa’s next phase of growth,” said Mr Quek. “To us, this is a no-regrets move. It’s part of our overall connectivity plan without which, no matter how much we redevelop the island, we can’t bring footfall in and bring footfall out.”
Last month, SDC called a tender for an outdoor attraction between Imbiah Lookout and Siloso Beach which “combines nature and adventure elements” to target thrill-seekers, youth and families. Situated on a slope, it will be able to “leverage the site’s gradient to provide an entertaining and interactive experience”, said SDC, adding that more details will be available later.
To us, this is a no-regrets move. It’s part of our overall connectivity plan without which, no matter how much we redevelop the island, we can’t bring footfall in and bring footfall out.
MR QUEK SWEE KUAN, Sentosa Development Corporation chief executive.
TIMELINE OF CHANGES
AUGUST 2017: Opening of Singapore’s first bungee tower. The 50m-tall bungee tower on Siloso Beach will be run by AJ Hackett International.
SECOND HALF OF 2017: Addition of two tracks to the go-kart style action ride Skyline Luge and a revamp of the 37m-tall Merlion.
BY 2021: Redevelopment of the Merlion Gateway precinct, including a 450m-long elevated skywalk.
Meanwhile, at the Skyline Luge Sentosa, two tracks will be added later this year to the existing two.
In the longer term, SDC is developing a 2030 masterplan to “further strengthen our position as a world-class leisure destination by enhancing the attractiveness of our various offerings and transport connectivity, while ensuring the efficient use of land, environmental sustainability and protection of our popular beaches”, said Mr Quek.
This includes repositioning the island from a day destination to a “day-to-night” destination, he added. Sentosa has been experimenting with after-dark activities, such as night tours of Fort Siloso.
Ms Alicia Seah, director of marketing communications at travel agency Dynasty Travel, said some attractions at Sentosa are “quite aged”. Singapore also faces competition from destinations such as Shanghai, which opened a Disneyland theme park last year. Welcoming the changes, she said Sentosa’s new attractions would draw repeat visitors to Singapore, and encourage visitors to stay longer.