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In the name of development, one of Singapore’s iconic landmarks, the Merlion, will no longer be part of Singapore’s landscape giving way to an all-inclusive architectural plan designed to upgrade Sentosa and Pulau Brani into a “game-changing leisure and tourism destination.” This was announced with plans for new spaces and concepts as well as rejuvenated beaches.

The “make-over” of Sentosa and Pulau Brani is a component of the Government’s initiatives to remake Singapore’s Greater Southern Waterfront (GSW) and follows plans outlined by Prime Minister Lee Hsien Loong in his National Day Rally speech last month.

The Sentosa-Brani masterplan is expected to be implemented in phases over the next two to three decades, but construction on the first milestone project – a 30,000 sq m multi-sensory walkway – will begin in the fourth quarter of this year, said Sentosa Development Corporation (SDC) at a media briefing on Friday.

The S$90 million walkway is expected to be completed in 2022.

Senior Minister of State for Trade and Industry and for Education Chee Hong Tat  said that “The Sentosa-Brani masterplan is one of our tourism developments to position Singapore as a leading destination for the next few decades….“Our tourism industry is doing well and still has plenty of scope for further growth and rejuvenation. It is one of our economic engines that can continue to create many good jobs for Singaporeans,” he added.

Sentosa Sensoryscape, which will be about the size of 5.5 football fields when completed, will connect Resorts World Sentosa in the north to Sentosa’s southern beaches.

Making up a two-tiered walkway, Sensoryscape will have features that stimulate the five senses – such as textured surfaces and plants that respond to touch, a water feature with the sound of cascading water, and visually striking giant flower stalks framing the sides of the thoroughfare. “Sentosa Sensoryscape is the first project under this masterplan. It will complement the expansion of Resorts World Sentosa and subsequent infrastructure enhancements on Sentosa and Pulau Brani,” said Mr Chee.

As guests become more “sophisticated and well connected”, they tend to look for experiences, he explained. He also noted that the thoroughfare linking RWS with Sentosa’s beaches will make the island more accessible for all guests.

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Tourism experts’ response

Tourism experts welcomed the proposed plans for redeveloping Sentosa and Pulau Brani, noting that they are part of Sentosa’s constant renewal and evolution.

Managing director of international tourism consultancy MasterCounsult Christopher Khoo said that the masterplan was “another step” in Sentosa’s evolution.

“The inclusion of Brani is what makes it exciting,” he said, adding that it would open up commercial and tourism opportunities on the island.

Ngee Ann Polytechnic senior lecturer in tourism Michael Chiam said that he expects tourism numbers to rise, as it “comes with the novelty” of new attractions.

On the removal of the Merlion, MasterConsult’s Khoo said: “(The Merlion) fulfilled the function at that time. As tourism goes on, expectations are higher (and we have to) make way for something new. The renewal process means giving way.” /TISG

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