Gardens by the Bay wins attractions sector 'Oscar'
Singapore's "iconic" Gardens by the Bay has won an international award for themed entertainment alongside renowned attractions like Walt Disney World Resort in Orlando, Florida and Universal Studios Japan in Osaka.
The attraction at Marina South won the 2014 Thea Award for Outstanding Achievement - Botanical Garden, one of 13 awards handed out by the Themed Entertainment Association. Walt Disney and Universal Studios clinched their awards in separate categories.
The Thea Awards, which were first presented in 1994, are regarded as the Oscars of the attractions industry.
In a statement, the California-based association said: "More than a mere botanical display, Gardens by the Bay is a compelling and iconic experience...
"The project boasts audacious scale, a unique site plan, a focus on quality of the educational and interpretation experience, and, especially, excellence of design."
Dr Tan Wee Kiat, chief executive of Gardens by the Bay, said on Wednesday: "(The award) is a wonderful recognition of the team's hard work, since opening in June 2012, in making every visit to the Gardens a delightful experience for our visitors."
Gardens by the Bay was an immediate hit with Singaporeans and tourists alike when it opened, hosting 1.7 million visitors in the first five months of operations. It welcomed its five-millionth visitor within the first year.
The mega park, which cost $1 billion to build, features two of the world's largest cooled conservatories, more than 2,000 plant species from nearly every continent and 18 Supertrees, which are vertical gardens of up to 50m tall.
Dr Tan will be presenting Gardens by the Bay as a case study at an attractions industry forum on April 4, and receiving the Thea Award the next day at the Disneyland Resort in California.
In 2006, Sentosa's renovated Images of Singapore won the Thea Award for Reinvention of a Cultural Heritage Centre - the first attraction in South- east Asia to win the accolade.