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Saturday, December 02, 2006
Just what we need, another Sentosa -vvw

STB plans to develop Southern Islands into tourist attraction

SINGAPORE: The Singapore Tourism Board (STB) plans to develop the six islands off the southern tip of Sentosa into a tourist attraction.

This, as its $12b Sentosa masterplan -- which includes Harbourfront and the Southern Islands -- is expected to be completed ahead of schedule in 2010.

The comment came on the sidelines of an industry conference where STB also revealed that Singapore is set to welcome another record number of visitors this year.

The STB wants to tap on the momentum of the Sentosa integrated resort bid and extend investor interest to the islands nearby.

Exploring the potential of developing land around the Marina Bay and Sentosa areas, the STB concluded that enhancing the lush greenery and natural foliage of the Southern Islands will make them irresistible as a tourist destination.

The Southern Islands include the Sisters' Island, Kusu Island and St John Island.

The agency says the Southern Islands already boast a Chinese temple, natural ecosystems and a resort-like atmosphere.

So it is conceivable to turn some of them into a resort island, a cultural site or an interactive rainforest park.

Designers say there is a trend towards mixing education and entertainment when it comes to creating a tourist destination that leverages on the natural resources of a given place.

They say the Southern Islands have the potential to become such a themed destination.

Citing Hamburg's Regenwald House, Shawn McCoy, Marketing Director of Jack Rouse Associates, said: "There's a great project in Hamburg called the Regenwald House. Basically, it's a rainforest where you walk through and you can interpret some of the flora and fauna that are there. Everything, from audio wands to rain sequence - so it rains on you. It's manufactured, sure it's synthetic but you're actually learning about the natural environment."

STB expects to announce details for the development of the Southern Islands and seek request-for-concepts as early as next March.

Total investment in Sentosa alone reached S$3.1 billion in the fiscal year ending in March.

This is a 68% increase compared to a year ago.

On tourist arrivals, STB says Singapore is expected to receive its 9th million visitor anytime now.

This will set a second consecutive year of record high for tourist numbers.

Singapore welcomed 8.94 million visitors in 2005. - CNA


Why can't they just leave the islands alone?! What's with this obsession of turning any natural environment into an artificial natural environment? I like my beaches covered with rocks, crabs, baby lobsters and other strange marine lifeforms. Not the sterile shit they have at Sentosa made with homogeneous imported sand. I like my forests to be teeming with life, strange insects and colourful birds. Not the synthetic greenery surrounding spas and air-conditioned hotel rooms or labeled plants that come with audio commentary.

When future generations read about the legend of how two inseparable sisters turned into a pair of islands or the tale of how a giant turtle saved the lives of a Chinese and Malay fisherman, they will be totally lost because the islands in the stories will no longer exist. Instead, we will have one big Southern Island. The Chinese temple and Malay shrine will be nothing more than tourist checkpoints.

And people wonder why Singapore has no natural or cultural heritage. I grew up catching crabs on Kusu and fishing on its breakwaters. The existence of places like these is one of the few reasons I tolerate some of the crap this country has to offer.

I'm glad the British sold Christmas Island to Australia because if it were governed by Singapore, it probably wouldn't survive our habit of exploiting Nature for profit.


-- permalink --
Yiheng made
11:54 AM

2 Comments:

Yes I totally agree. It is disturbing that we are exchanging the last vestiges of unspoilt nature for artificial commericial kitsche. What seems even wrong to me is the fact that given the mandate to market the southern islands as a getaway for tourists, the attractions (much like the IRs) will be catered towards the opulent lifestyles and alienating the local citizens.

Gone will be the simple days where simple folk have access to public spaces as such. Resorts and spas springing will see to that.

And it's not like success is a given yet. Imagine reclaiming the islands for yet another Tang dynasty *shudder*

Unfortunately in Singapore, change is inevitable, and we pride ourselves for being adaptable and getting with the times. But at what price?

By Blogger Soqcrates, at 1:33 AM  

I just went past Tang Dynasty last week. It looks so weathered that it's actually starting to look authentic.
By Anonymous yiheng, at 11:15 AM  

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