“Excitement is in the air – the Marina Bay area is slated to steal some thunder from the Orchard Road revival, starting with the comeback of Japanese department store Parco on Wednesday” (Marina Bay, The Buzz Starts Here, Miss Rachel Chan).
The imminent assortment of developments in Marina Bay, as highlighted in the article “Marina Bay, The Buzz Starts Here” (March 26, 2010) by Miss Rachel Chan, is exciting and scintillating; offering both Singaporeans and tourists a variety of locations and treats in the months and years to come. Complemented by the transportation and infrastructural enhancements, individuals and groups would be able to bask in the sights and sounds offered by various retail and entertainment outlets.
All these are excellent initiatives, given the conscious effort to differentiate from the style and vibes of the world-famous Orchard Road. More specifically, the emphasis on arts, entertainment, and the entire cultural aspect – with a slew of performances and activities organised actively at The Esplanade, as well as the upcoming ArtScience Museum at the Marina Bay Sands (MBS) Integrated Resort – would add another dimension to the tourism scene in Singapore. The simultaneous development of a plethora of other projects – aside from the continued emphasis on the casinos per se – in the area would prove to be handsomely beneficial for Singapore’s socio-economic development.
With the Singapore Tourism Board’s (STB) recent movement to rebrand the “Uniquely Singapore” tagline to “YourSingapore” – complete with publicity overhauls and changes on-line and off-line – perhaps it would also be appropriate for the agency to double its efforts in terms of augmenting the existing cultural, historical and traditional aspects.
Over the years, the National Heritage Board (NHB) has been active in its efforts to coordinate the programmes between the museums and locations, and also to conscientiously reach out to tourists. The efforts in this direction are indeed commendable, coupled with the administrative organisations of individual museums in the planning of many notable events. With so much emphasis placed on sensational developments in the tourism scene – including the Formula One race, construction of the Integrated Resorts, as well as the current endeavours – it might not be a bad idea to head back to the fundamentals of what made Singapore attractive in the first place: the cultural, racial and religious diversity, including their locations; and the huge diversity of food and gastronomic delights that have pulled tourists to Singapore for decades.
Let us not be blinded by the glitzy and glamorous forms of transformation. While we seek to render the tourism experience in Singapore a more wholesome and metropolitan one, the administration should never lose sight of the cultural, historical and traditional aspects that remain important cornerstones of the Singapore image.
A version of this article was published in My Paper.