Singapore’s island playground celebrates 40 successful years in 2012. And there are plenty more birthdays to come, says the Sentosa Leisure Group’s Addison Goh.
STORY BY BRAD FOSTER
“We are working with the hotels on the island – plus Resorts World – to specifically target the MICE market.”
It is described as “Asia’s Favourite Playground”. And, after a recent tour of this island, just 15 minutes from the central business district, it’s not hard to understand why.
Home to exciting themed attractions, sandy beaches, out-of-this-world accommodation offerings, spectacular restaurants, championship golf courses, spa retreats, and lush rainforests it is the kind of place where you could leave your car behind and explore it for days and days.
The island welcomed Singapore’s first integrated resort in 2010 – Resorts World™ Sentosa – which operates South East Asia’s first Universal Studios theme park. By 2014 it will also be home to more than 2000 homes, ensuring that the vitality of the island destination is retained 24/7.
Already it is attracting both business and leisure tourists, with the Sentosa Development Corporation, expecting greater visitation over the next decade.
Home to the Sentosa Golf Club and its two widely acclaimed golf courses – The Serapong and The Tanjong – and more than a dozen hotels and resorts, this is one destination that won’t be resting on its laurels anytime soon.
The island resort is managed by Sentosa Development Corporation, which works with various stakeholders in overseeing property investments, attractions development, operation of the various leisure offerings, and management of the residential precinct on the island. The organization also manages the Southern Islands, and owns Mount Faber Leisure Group, which runs Singapore’s only cable car service.
Sales director of the Sentosa Leisure Group’s commercial division, Addison Goh, told micenet ASIA on a recent visit, Sentosa now boasts in excess of 3000 accommodation rooms. Coupled with its wealth of attractions it is fast becoming a great option for the MICE market, particularly those which are seeking a different Singapore experience.
“We are working with the hotels on the island – plus Resorts World – to specifically target the MICE market,” he said.
“Compared to SUNTEC, which is currently undergoing renovation, and Marina Bay Sands, we are pitching ourselves as a different place for meetings and incentives.
“Resorts World itself has ballroom facilities for 8000 pax or so. We are really targeting the mid to smaller sized meetings and incentive groups.”
And the organization is already kicking goals, attracting a greater share of MICE business than ever before. Companies that have utilised the many and varied facilities on Sentosa in recent times have included Amway and Herbalife, to name just two.
The size of the island (about 500 hectares) and the many and varied things to see and do is sitting well with the
As Mr Goh explains, groups can hold the meetings component of their programmes in a venue like Resorts World, and then experience the rest of the island in a variety of ways for leisure-based activities, or as an extension of their meetings program.
“We can organise gala dinners by the beach, for example, and then post the meeting we can assist in spouse programmes or run outdoor activities, or team-building programmes.
“We now offer various team-building type activities that take part in areas such as the beach. We either work with the team-building company on the island called Focus Adventure or we run it ourselves. We run an Amazing Race-type programme which is proving to be extremely popular.
“The latest one we are going to introduce is using Segways to have a football match. It’s still in the planning stages but will be a lot of fun.”
And despite the ongoing economic climate still affecting the MICE sector, Mr Goh says the corporate market is liking what they are offering.
“We are seeing people wanting to do team-building type events and we can deliver them very effectively on Sentosa.”
A world of options
Ensuring that it remains top-of-mind, Sentosa continues to evolve. Already a popular destination since opening, Universal Studios plans to keep current by offering new experiences for guests. In 2011 Universal launched a new Transformers ride, and a Sesame Street experience is coming soon.
Other attractions that are well suited to the groups market or partner programmes include:
- Animal & Bird Encounters
- Butterfly Park & Insect Kingdom
- MegaZip Adventure Park
- Singapore Cable Car
- Skyline Luge Sentosa
- Combat Skirmish Live
- Gogreen Segway Eco Adventure
- The Flying Trapeze
- Wave House Sentosa
Hotels and resorts are also keeping ahead of the game with many undergoing refurbishment, and new ones opening.
Shangri-La’s Rasa Sentosa Resort – the only beachfront resort in Singapore (located on Siloso Beach) – recently completed an $80 million makeover.
The nearby Movenpick Heritage Hotel Sentosa meanwhile is launching a new heritage wing.
The latest and greatest offering is the W Singapore which opened in September (2012). The stylish W Singapore offers 240 sea and marina facing guest rooms including what W is calling its four WOW Suites and one Extreme WOW Suite (W Hotel’s interpretation of the Presidential Suite). From Wonderful to Extreme WOW, all rooms and suites feature custom-made furnishings, stylish accents unique to Singapore and W’s signature amenities including W bed, a luxurious ensemble with a feather-top mattress and goose down comforter, “Munchie Boxes” stocked with exclusive amenities, cutting-edge technology including mood lightings and the most advanced in-room entertainment systems including 40 inch LED HD TV, Wi Fi, iPod plug-and-play.
Other facilities include a state-of-the art fitness centre, GYM, outdoor pool WET and AWAY Spa.
For conference groups it offers eight function spaces ranging in size from 14 square metres to the 732 square metre Great Room. There is also a pre-function space measuring 290 square metres.
Sentosa Leisure Group’s Addison Goh agrees it is very exciting times for the island with many more to come. He said that as well as the existing attractions, Sentosa prides itself on its vast series of events it offers each year which he says the
MICE sector can tap into as part of
A flower festival, a buskers’ festival, Halloween, and of course the island’s 40th birthday celebrations can all be shared
and experienced by convention and incentive groups.