With sweeping changes afoot for Sentosa and its surrounds, expectations are high that the new developments will step up the destination’s appeal to a wider market segment and extend visitors’ length of stay
The island of Sentosa will soon welcome a host of developments that are expected increase the destination’s appeal to a wider market segment, particularly families and visitors with mid-tier budgets.
Sentosa Development Corporation’s (SDC) assistant chief executive and chief financial officer, Chin Sak Hin, told TTG Asia that the nearby Pulau Brani will also be “transformed” as part of Sentosa’s rejuvenation blueprint, which will see the former retaining its idyllic charm while new attractions and nature zones are added.
As well, Sentosa will be jointly developed as part of the Greater Southern Waterfront precinct which will bring a host of new attractions, improved transport connectivity, enhancements to its beaches and more MICE facilities, added SDC’s chief marketing officer Lynette Ang.
The SDC is now working closely with other government agencies to draw up development plans for the whole area, which will form part of the Sentosa 2030 masterplan that it is currently developing.
Said Chin: “We always say that we are a world-class destination, but this will bring us to another level.”
Sentosa’s hardware overhaul has already begun, with reburbishment of the island’s main north-south pedestrian thoroughfare set to complete by completed by 2021.
Next month will see Far East Hospitality (FEH) opening the Village Hotel at Sentosa, offering 606 rooms including family rooms, as well as The Outpost Hotel, a new adults-only brand featuring 193 keys and a stylish colonial island concept. Come 3Q2019, the old-school luxury-styled Barracks Hotel will accompany its sibling properties along Artillery Avenue, bringing 40 rooms within a conserved colonial building.
The trio of FEH properties will raise Sentosa’s total room count to 4,200 and make Sentosa more accessible to more tourists with its mid-range prices.
Arthur Kiong, CEO of FEH, said: “Sentosa is a driver of business and is very popular, but it’s interesting that 90 per cent of its 3,200 rooms are in the luxury class. (Our new cluster) caters to families, groups, MICE and niche segments. Visitors may be encouraged to extend their stay in Singapore and Sentosa from one to two days.”
He added that rooms will be “egalitarian” and “priced effectively”, as FEH works on “establishing key partnerships with attractions on Sentosa”.
Inbound tourism players are hopeful that the new properties will entice foreign visitors to extend their stay in Sentosa and Singapore.
Guy Allison, director of procurement, Tour East Holdings, remarked: “Sentosa’s becoming quite a family destination. It’s starting to attract people to stay in Singapore for not just one or two nights, but three or four – maybe even a week. With the new developments, it might even become a destination in itself.”
He also expressed confidence that despite Singapore being a costlier destination compared to its neighbours, the country is “becoming more value-for-money” and more affordable than five years ago.
Meanwhile, to position the island as a holistic destination, SDC has been rolling out a year-round calendar of diverse events to attract visitors, said Chin. These include family-friendly attractions such as Sentosa Sandsation: Marvel Edition and Sentosa GrillFest. The destination recently launched a night light-up event, Island Lights, featuring the first Pikachu Night Parade outside of Japan.
Chin added that SDC is marketing these programmes according to themes such as beach, music, food, sports and festivals to help visitors gain awareness of the island’s suite of offerings.
The SDC has also teamed up with Singapore Tourism Board (STB) for a consumer co-branding campaign Epic Adventures from the Island Beyond, which is aligned with the Passion Made Possible brand to markets such as Indonesia, Thailand and the Philippines.
Lynette Pang, assistant chief executive, marketing group, STB, described: “Through our marketing promotions, we continue to position Sentosa as an exciting island destination, ideal for families with young kids, with plenty of activities and offerings available to visitors from the foodie, explorer, action seeker and socialiser passion tribes.”