Changi's Jewel draws 50 million visitors in first six months

Prime Minister Lee Hsien Loong cutting a cake yesterday to celebrate Changi Airport Group's 10th anniversary with (from left) CAG's executive vice-president of commercial Lim Peck Hoon; CAG's executive vice-president of airport management Tan Lye Tec
Prime Minister Lee Hsien Loong cutting a cake yesterday to celebrate Changi Airport Group's 10th anniversary with (from left) CAG's executive vice-president of commercial Lim Peck Hoon; CAG's executive vice-president of airport management Tan Lye Teck (hidden); Senior Parliamentary Secretary for Transport and Culture, Community and Youth Baey Yam Keng; Manpower Minister Josephine Teo; CAG chairman Liew Mun Leong; CAG chief executive Lee Seow Hiang; Senior Minister of State for Transport and Health Lam Pin Min; Changi Airport Advisory Group adviser Ho Beng Huat; CAG executive vice-president of airport development Yam Kum Weng; and CAG chief financial officer and executive vice-president of corporate Ng Lai Leng. Jewel has become an icon Singaporeans are proud of, said PM Lee. ST PHOTO: KEVIN LIM

Figure, which includes repeat visitors, passes initial target of 40m to 50m visitors a year

Changi Airport's latest attraction - Jewel - has attracted about 50 million visitors since it opened six months ago.

The figure, which includes repeat customers, has surpassed the initial target of drawing 40 million to 50 million visitors yearly.

Since opening in April, Jewel has drawn international acclaim and become an icon Singaporeans are proud of, Prime Minister Lee Hsien Loong said.

"Jewel has become one of the instantly recognisable icons of Singapore," he said yesterday at a ceremony to officially open the 135,700 sq m complex.

"It resonates with Singaporeans because it reminds us that when we dream big and apply ourselves, nothing is impossible."

PM Lee recounted how the original plan was to replace the old open-air carpark in front of Terminal 1 that now houses Jewel and increase the number of parking spaces. But to realise the area's potential, the team conceptualising Jewel came up with a retail and entertainment concept that transformed the idea of what an airport could be, he said.

And while there were many doubts, Jewel was completed on time and within budget - a huge achievement considering the ambitious concept, he added.

He noted that world-renowned architect Moshe Safdie, who designed Jewel and attended the ceremony yesterday, had rated the difficulty of constructing the complex's dome nine out of 10. Mr Safdie also designed Marina Bay Sands.

 
 

The entire project, which is a partnership venture between Changi Airport Group (CAG) and CapitaLand, cost $1.7 billion.

PM Lee first announced plans for Jewel at the 2013 National Day Rally.

Last evening, he said the 10-storey complex, which offers retail, dining and aviation facilities, has "undoubtedly" made Changi Airport more competitive.

Changi saw 65 million travellers last year, including those on transit.

PM Lee said he is confident that with Jewel, that record will be broken this year.

He also congratulated the CAG team, its partners, and every person "who helped conceive, cut and polish this beautiful gem at the centre of Changi Airport today".

"You have shown once again that what we say, we will do, we will deliver," he said.

In an interview with The Straits Times on Wednesday, Jewel chief executive Hung Jean said statistics for transit passengers since April are not yet available.

But anecdotal evidence has shown that Jewel has drawn more passengers, she said.

 
 

She added that Jewel currently sees up to 300,000 visitors a day.

Crowds vary at different time periods, she noted. "Definitely, the peak was in April, when it first opened, and then there will be peaks and less (busy periods).

The number of visitors also peaked during the June holidays, when the Canopy Park was opened, and during holidays such as the National Day long weekend, she said.

On upcoming plans, Ms Hung said Jewel visitors can look forward to its Christmas celebrations.

While she did not reveal specific details, she said: "It will be very special. It will be immersive.

"We want to create an ambience where you feel like you are in a wonderland."

 
A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Straits Times on October 19, 2019, with the headline 'Changi's Jewel draws 50 million visitors in first six months'. Print Edition | Subscribe