Is there a place for the Sentosa Harbourfront precinct in Singapore’s new tourism identity?
Sentosa Island and its neighbouring attractions are ostensibly absent from the first wave of Passion Made Possible campaign videos, leading some in the trade to wonder where they fit into the country’s new destination branding.
“Many years ago, the highlight used to be the HarbourFront/Sentosa area… If you visit STB’s website (now), a majority of the content and marketing is directed at the Marina Bay or Tanjong Pagar areas,” pointed out Philip Cyril Raj, group general manager of Bay Hotels & Resorts.
Lynette Ang, chief marketing officer, Sentosa Development Corporation (SDC), observed: “We find that many have an age-old perception that Sentosa is still the same place it was 20 years ago.”
Judy Lum, general manager, Diethelm Travel (Singapore), opined that Passion Made Possible’s “abstract” message is “probably why many attractions in Singapore did not get the headline in this campaign”.
As such, operators in the Harbourfront area and Sentosa are carving out their own means to increase visitor volumes.
Yue Weng Leong, general manager, KidZania Singapore, shared that the Sentosa-based attraction is expecting more demand from families that “rely heavily on reviews and word-of-mouth”.
One Faber Group – an autonomous subsidiary of SDC that manages attractions such as Sentosa’s iconic Merlion structure, Singapore Cable Car and Faber Peak Singapore – has launched its own brand material and will promote them to target markets such as India and China.
However, the prevalent sentiment is that the district has a place in Singapore’s new identity.
Tracy Lui, assistant director, marketing & communications, One Faber Group, said: “In a Passion Made Possible video, there is a scene of the Henderson Waves, which is actually located at Mount Faber Park. We hope to use that platform to extend the reach wider for tourists to visit the park… and, using the cable cars, continue their journey into Sentosa.”
Raj suggested: “A HarbourFront guide in line with the Passion Made Possible campaign should be done up and promoted to tourists as well.
“The walking trail along Mount Faber should be promoted more to bring out the passion for exploration in visitors. There is a lot of good food options in the area too and that should bring out the foodies in travellers.”
But hope is not lost for the precinct. TTG Asia understands that SDC is “working closely with STB”, revealed Ang.
She continued: “What STB has released to the market is just the beginning of a multi-year branding effort. Sentosa is working closely with STB in several markets to be part of the future phases of this brand building effort.
“Sentosa is not a one-trick pony. Our overall value proposition as The State of Fun will continue to come out more strongly through our own brand and campaigns,” Ang concluded.