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Sentosa to get major facelift complete with themed zones

5-year makeover will group activities and attractions according to themes

Published on Aug 15, 2014 6:04 AM
 
Men on the MegaZip in Sentosa on Oct 28, 2012. Sentosa will be given a makeover in the next five years in a bid to draw more locals and tourists to the island. -- ST PHOTO: TED CHEN

Sentosa will be given a makeover in the next five years in a bid to draw more locals and tourists to the island.

Attractions and activities for visitors will be grouped according to themes and given designated areas within Sentosa.

For example, the Palawan Beach area will be for family activities with its upcoming Family Entertainment Centre, while Siloso Beach will offer lively beach bars and adrenaline-pumping rides for the adventurous and trendy. Imbiah Lookout will give nature and heritage lovers the greenery and serenity they seek.

Sentosa Development Corp (SDC), which manages the island, is calling for developers to indicate their interest in developing the island on the Government's online purchasing portal, GeBIZ, in an exercise that ends today.

According to SDC's project brief, six existing sites, which make up a third of the island's land area, have been earmarked for transformation - the North-South Link Precinct, Fort Siloso and Siloso Point, Siloso Beach, Palawan Beach, Tanjong Beach and Imbiah Lookout.

SDC also asked developers to submit ideas on how space on the 500ha island can be better used and how people can get from one area to another more easily.

"We would like to gain insights into innovative ways of enhancing infrastructure, landscape and lighting, as well as strategies for more efficient land use," said Mr Benjamin Chia, divisional director of property at SDC.

Experts say having themed zones, each with its own distinct identity, will be crucial as the island, which already has 33 attractions and nearly 200 food and retail outlets, is getting more crowded. "It will help distribute the crowd according to age group, and allow better land and infrastructure planning, such as having more child-friendly facilities in areas that are meant for families," said Dr Michael Chiam, senior lecturer in tourism at Ngee Ann Polytechnic.

The five-year plan will be executed in three phases, starting with the North-South Link Precinct and ending with Imbiah Lookout.

Once work on the North-South Link Precinct is done, visitors should be able to walk easily from the North-South boulevard to the beaches and other zones.

The Fort Siloso and Siloso Point Precinct, which houses the country's coastal defence installation, will be a draw for history buffs. Beach lovers who want to see more of nature in a tranquil setting can head to Tanjong Beach.

The last time the island received a makeover was in 2006, when a new walkway and a children's splashing zone were added to Palawan Beach. That mini rejuvenation alone came with an $11 million bill.

SDC said it is unable to estimate the budget for this project as the developers have yet to be appointed.

Visitorship to the island has jumped since Resorts World Sentosa opened in 2010, rising from 6.1 million in 2008 to 20.5 million last year. Figures could go higher with the opening of long-awaited attractions such as wax museum Madame Tussauds this year and Singapore's first bungee jump facility next year.

"These changes are all exciting and good, but I hope the crowds will be better managed as there is always a bottleneck at the tram stations," said social service executive Cheryl Ong, 27, who goes to Sentosa for beach volleyball every week.

jantai@sph.com.sg

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