Visiting Sentosa attractions? Book a time slot first to avoid being denied entry

A queue of more than 300 people was seen waiting to enter Universal Studios Singapore at 2.30pm on Dec 28, 2020.
A queue of more than 300 people was seen waiting to enter Universal Studios Singapore at 2.30pm on Dec 28, 2020.ST PHOTO: JESSIE LIM

SINGAPORE - Booking platforms are working closely with Sentosa attractions to put in place notices to remind customers, before they buy tickets, to book a time slot.

This comes as many have flocked to the island during the December school holidays and could not use their tickets on fully booked attractions.

While the change will happen after the usual rush during the year-end school holidays, it could still help other visitors to Sentosa, especially during peak periods like the weekends, as well as other festive periods and school holidays.

The booking situation could also be exacerbated partly by people still redeeming their SingapoRediscovers tourism vouchers for attraction tickets.

Various attractions said that time slots were introduced to help them reduce overcrowding.

When The Sunday Times visited Sentosa on Monday morning (Dec 28) - a week before school starts - attractions including GoGreen Segway Eco Adventure, iFly Singapore and Trick Eye Museum were fully booked for the day.

Some attractions were also booked out for the first week of January, including the SEA Aquarium and HeadRock VR.

A queue of more than 300 people was seen outside Universal Studios Singapore at 2.30pm on Monday.

Some visitors were denied entry because they had showed up without booking a time slot.

Sentosa Development Corporation said that many guests had "taken the opportunity to redeem their SingapoRediscovers vouchers for experiences in Sentosa during this year-end festive period and we thank them for their strong support".

To visit Sentosa attractions, people can purchase tickets either directly from the attractions' websites or through booking platforms.

Those using their SingapoRediscovers vouchers can also purchase tickets for the attractions via the five authorised booking platforms: Changi Recommends, GlobalTix, Traveloka, and Klook.

The voucher scheme started last month and can be redeemed until the end of June.

There is also the Sentosa Fun Pass which gives visitors a certain number of tokens which they can use at selected Sentosa attractions.

However, it is valid for only two days, once customers exchange their confirmation receipt for the pass at Sentosa ticketing counters.

This means the passes bought could be wasted if customers cannot use them quickly enough when attractions are fully booked.

Getting a refund is also tricky and usually not possible.

For some people, it is also a matter of time wasted and difficulty finding the time for another trip to Sentosa.

Consultant Eileen Chua, 45, had purchased five passes for her family of five after she saw a promotion. When she went down to Sentosa on Dec 21 morning, she decided not to use the passes after she was told by attraction operators that they were sold out for the day.

"We have such a short time to use the passes and our kids will be back in school soon. By that time, we can go only on the weekends, but even more attractions may be sold out," she said.

While signs indicating that attractions were fully booked were placed at some Sentosa attractions, there is no centralised platform that people could visit to check the availability of time slots.

Several visitors also did not realise there was a need to book time slots as they thought the process was completed after they got confirmation for buying their tickets.

To complicate matters, attractions can have different time slots available on different booking platforms that do not synchronise with one another.

Some platforms have started to notify customers about the need to book time slots for attractions.

Visitors queueing at Skyline Luge Sentosa on Dec 29, 2020. ST PHOTO: JASON QUAH

Early last month, booking platform Klook required customers to check a box when making payment for tickets to acknowledge that they are aware of the need to book a time slot.

Time slots are booked separately and may be done through e-mail for some attractions or by visiting the attraction's website.

Ms Sarah Wan, South-east Asia marketing director at Klook, said the new feature will be progressively rolled out for all Sentosa Fun Pass activities "in due course".

Booking platform Traveloka also said on Wednesday that it will be adding additional information on the requirement for time slot reservations for customers booking the Sentosa Fun Pass via its website.

Skyline Luge Sentosa general manager Dean Johnson said the attraction is in the process of making reservations mandatory for all guests.

The Trick Eye Museum is also looking into a new online ticketing system which allows customers to make reservations when they purchase tickets.