Curbs eased on visitor numbers at tourist attractions in Singapore

Trade and Industry Minister Chan Chun Sing, who unveiled details about the SingapoRediscovers Vouchers, on a visit to Jurong Bird Park yesterday with Mandai Park Holdings group chief executive Mike Barclay. Despite the pandemic-related setbacks, the
Trade and Industry Minister Chan Chun Sing, who unveiled details about the SingapoRediscovers Vouchers, on a visit to Jurong Bird Park yesterday with Mandai Park Holdings group chief executive Mike Barclay. Despite the pandemic-related setbacks, the park is on track to move to Mandai precinct in 2022.ST PHOTO: KELVIN CHNG

From tomorrow, such places can apply to raise operating capacity to 50%, up from 25%

Tourist attractions will be able to cater to more visitors, after more than two months of being restricted to filling just 25 per cent of operating capacity at any one time.

From tomorrow, they can apply to the Singapore Tourism Board (STB) to increase this to 50 per cent.

They can also seek permission to scale up the capacity at their outdoor shows to 250 people, up from 50 currently. But shows must be split into five zones with a maximum of 50 people in each zone and safe distancing between groups as well as zones.

This means the limit for their outdoor shows will be in line with the maximum number of participants soon to be allowed at approved Mice (meetings, incentives, conventions and exhibitions) events.

STB said yesterday that the easing of rules for attractions comes as operators have been effective in preventing and dispersing crowds, as well as maintaining high standards of cleanliness and hygiene.

All attractions have also introduced online booking systems that help to monitor and control visitor numbers, it said.

Gardens by the Bay is among the operators that are planning to scale up their capacity to meet an expected increase in demand when the $100 SingapoRediscovers vouchers are issued to Singaporeans in December.

Local support has been encouraging to date, with more than 480,000 recorded visits since July, said Mr Jason Koo, its director for attractions operations and visitor services.

Crowds will continue to be managed through the use of timed-entry tickets which must be pre-purchased online, he said.

 LIM
The Supertree Grove at Gardens By the Bay. The attraction is among the operators that are planning to scale up their capacity to meet an expected increase in demand when the $100 tourism vouchers are issued to Singaporeans in December. ST PHOTO: LIM YAOHUI

Gardens by the Bay will also be bringing back programmes such as the Mid-Autumn Festival light-up and Christmas floral display at the Flower Dome, albeit on a smaller scale.

Wildlife Reserves Singapore (WRS), which operates the Singapore Zoo, Night Safari, River Safari and Jurong Bird Park, is also planning to increase capacity at its parks.

WRS deputy chief executive Cheng Wen-Haur said visitorship had dropped early in the year, as fears over the coronavirus led some to avoid wildlife parks. But it has since rebounded, with capacity maxed out on some weekends.

 
 
 

The added capacity allowance will "really help", he added, as many prefer to visit in the morning, while the later slots are less popular.

The larger audience size allowed at the parks' popular outdoor shows is also a relief.

"A lot of visitors have been disappointed because they can't catch the show" owing to the current limit of 50 people, he said.

Despite the pandemic-related setbacks, Jurong Bird Park is on track to move to the Mandai precinct in 2022, with the opening of the new Rainforest Park and other attractions in the eco-tourism hub to follow.

The new bird park will have bigger walk-in aviaries, new species, more interactive experiences and contactless touchpoints, Dr Cheng said.

 
A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Straits Times on September 17, 2020, with the headline 'Curbs eased on visitor numbers at tourist attractions'. Print Edition | Subscribe