More can be done with integrated resorts' expansion plans

Artist's impression of the new hotel tower of Marina Bay Sands.
Artist's impression of the new hotel tower of Marina Bay Sands.PHOTO: MARINA BAY SANDS

The two integrated resorts (IRs) have certainly done a very good job raising the quality of our tourism and lifestyle sector over the last decade.

Kudos in particular to the Marina Bay Sands (MBS) team for constantly striving for offerings that are unique or exclusive to Singapore in the Indo-Pacific region.

While I have long supported Las Vegas Sands chairman and chief executive Sheldon Adelson's call for more land to expand MBS' meeting, incentives, conferences and exhibitions operations, I am particularly pleased with the fact that some missing links in its current incarnation will be rectified in the coming years. These include the planned multipurpose indoor entertainment arena that will hopefully grow to become as renowned as New York's Madison Square Garden, and the exclusive all-suite luxury hotel tower (Standalone hotel tower, 15,000-seat concert arena to be built, April 4).

Such a key facility as the arena might have been better off cast as the IR's third and largest Crystal Pavilion in conjunction with its Arts and Science Museum via an underground link, with both assets reinforcing each other as the ideal locale for major red carpet events in this part of the world.

As for the next phase of Resorts World Singapore, the authorities can do better than negotiate for another edition of a Nintendo and Minion park in the region, especially as both are already being developed in their hometown of Japan (New offerings include Nintendo World and Minion Park, April 4).

Instead, this is a perfect opportunity to reposition Universal Studios as a theme park as well as the regional soul of cutting-edge digital entertainment, spanning gaming, animation and, above all, immersive and virtual reality.

I am confident that Singapore's very own Razer, along with its partners and competitors from across the world, would have a lot to add to such an endeavour, winning Universal Studios Singapore more fans and members from a broad community in search of a home.

Above all, beyond 2030, our island nation can certainly do with at least one more IR; one that will exist on a more intimate and luxurious scale along Orchard Road as the perfect Eastern partner of the classy Casino de Monte-Carlo for James Bond.

Three different IRs at the three key strategic precincts of our tourism and lifestyle sector ought to give a fresh new spin to Singapore as the place in the region to live, work and play.

Toh Cheng Seong

A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Straits Times on April 08, 2019, with the headline 'More can be done with IRs' expansion plans'. Subscribe