Sentosa to woo night visitors with lifestyle destination

Bars, food trucks and live music under the stars will be among new draws at former Underwater World site

An artist's impression of the Siloso Green lifestyle enclave, which will feature a shipping container theme. It will open by the end of the year at the site of the former Underwater World on Sentosa.
An artist's impression of the Siloso Green lifestyle enclave, which will feature a shipping container theme. It will open by the end of the year at the site of the former Underwater World on Sentosa.PHOTO: SENTOSA DEVELOPMENT CORPORATION

A new lifestyle quarter featuring eateries, shops, event spaces and waterfront accommodation is set to open in Sentosa by the end of the year as part of plans to increase the resort island's night offerings.

Called Siloso Green, it will take over the 24,500 sq m space vacated by Underwater World in 2016, and have a shipping container theme.

Bars, food trucks, innovative business concepts and live music under the stars are among the draws of the new attraction, Sentosa Development Corporation (SDC) said in a statement yesterday.

More night-time events are also on the cards for this year, including the Skechers Sundown music festival next month and the AIA Glow Festival in May.

About 30 per cent of Sentosa's attractions currently stay open until 9pm or later, while a number of bars and beach clubs operate up to 1am on most days, SDC said.

Rumours Bar and Grill, a popular Bali beach bar, will add to the night-life scene when it opens on Siloso Beach in the middle of this year.

SDC's chief marketing officer Lynette Ang told The Straits Times that the office crowd is a group of visitors Sentosa is interested in growing, given its proximity to the Central Business District (CBD).

While there is competition from nightlife in the CBD, Siloso Green will add to the lure of Sentosa's night experiences, she said.

Ms Jacqueline Tan, assistant chief executive of SDC, said that a pilot trial of driverless shuttle buses will be made available to the public later this year, allowing visitors to hail them using their smartphones for transport around the island.

Meanwhile, electric car-sharing service BlueSG, which is already available in Resorts World Sentosa, will be adding more stations on other parts of the island.

Visitors who enter Sentosa in BlueSG's electric cars will enjoy free admission when the car-sharing stations are set up.

"These options will provide guests with more on-demand transportation options at night, when the frequency of other transportation options might be lower," said Ms Tan.

"As we build the ecosystem over time, we believe more tenants and private sector partners will be encouraged to align their night offerings with demand."

The push to draw more visitors after dusk is part of larger plans to refresh Sentosa and integrate it with the upcoming Greater Southern Waterfront district, which will cover Singapore's southern coastline.

Sentosa and the adjacent island of Pulau Brani will be reshaped in line with plans for the mainland, with the aim of branding the whole area the Southern Gateway of Asia, it was announced last year.

Sentosa's masterplan for 2030 involves new attractions, improvement of transport connectivity and enhancement of its beaches.

Senior Minister of State for Trade and Industry Chee Hong Tat told the media during a visit to Sentosa on Thursday that while the island remains one of Singapore's most visited attractions, much more can be done to draw visitors at night.

The island will also be positioned as a test bed for concepts not available on the mainland, to incentivise people to "make that extra effort to come and visit", he said.

There are also efforts to draw more locals by increasing the affordability of Sentosa's offerings, he added.

Sentosa sees about 19 million visitors a year, and about 30 per cent of them are locals.

The island's entry fees vary, with free entry for those who opt to walk or cycle, for example. There is also a range of differently priced offerings, including free light shows and plans to introduce busking performances, said Mr Chee.

The night activities will support and fit in with larger long-term plans for the Greater Southern Waterfront, which will involve "a lot more opportunities for residential, commercial, hospitality and lifestyle (developments)", he added.

Details have yet to be firmed up, though it was announced earlier this month that work on the 2,000ha waterfront stretch spanning from Pasir Panjang to Marina East will begin in the next five to 10 years.

"I am excited by the possibilities, and I think it will benefit visitors when they come to Sentosa because this will be part of a larger integrated area," Mr Chee said.

A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Straits Times on March 30, 2019, with the headline 'Sentosa to woo night visitors with lifestyle destination'. Subscribe