Tourism Board appoints local tour operator Journeys to run Haw Par Villa

A family taking a photo in front of the entrance of Haw Par Villa.
A family taking a photo in front of the entrance of Haw Par Villa.PHOTO: SINGAPORE TOURISM BOARD

SINGAPORE - The Singapore Tourism Board (STB) has appointed tour organiser Journeys to operate and manage Haw Par Villa for the next three years.

The company will plan programmes for the Pasir Panjang park, and manage its food and beverage and retail spaces.

Admission will remain free,and it will continue to be open daily to the public.

Journeys director Mr Chan Ying-Loone said the company aims to return the park, which was built in 1937, to its former glory.

Home to countless statues and dioramas on Chinese legends and folklore, the park was popular with families in the 1970s and early 1980s. But its popularity has since taken a dive, and in 2012, the Hua Song museum housed within it closed down as a result of losses.

"Our vision has always been to position Singapore as a heritage destination of choice and with Haw Par Villa, we aim to return it to its former glory and more," he said.

Guided tours of the park, which Journeys organised last year during a tourism festival, were "hugely oversubscribed"and the tours have been extended to educate visitors about the surrounding landscape.

Mr Chan added: "We look forward to working closely with the community to organise more activities to breathe new life to this historical and cultural gem."

STB director of attractions, dining and retail Ms Ranita Sundramoorthy said: "With Journeys' expertise in heritage based tours in Singapore, we believe that they will be able to enliven Haw Par Villa with interesting concepts that will appeal to both locals and tourists, whilst conserving the integrity of the park."