Sentosa island goes virtual to spur visitor interest

[SINGAPORE] Singapore's Sentosa island, with its waterslide park, beaches and Universal Studios, is normally on tourists' to-do lists. Covid-19 has changed all that but the tiny precinct isn't giving up, it's going virtual.

A digital version of the island has been created for Nintendo's simulation game Animal Crossing: New Horizons and will be available at least through June 1, according to Sentosa Development. Cocktail club tutorials feature on Sentosa's Instagram page and you can also do a virtual yoga on the beach class.

Whether such online offerings help remains to be seen. Although Sentosa made international headlines in 2018 when US President Donald Trump met with North Korea's Kim Jong Un at an upmarket hotel, it's struggled to reach its full potential.

The government has tried to counter that with marketing campaigns declaring it the "State of Fun" and encouraging locals to go there for staycations. One of the nation's biggest developers last year compared Sentosa to a young lady whose parents forgot, adding the island should be redeveloped as a tourist mecca, like Bali. As well as a theme park, Sentosa is also home to a casino, an aquarium, several luxury hotels and a marina complete with bars and restaurants.

"Through these virtual offerings, we would like to encourage everyone to make time for an 'island getaway' during these challenging times," Sentosa Development said. "While exploring these leisure experiences, guests can also be inspired with ideas for future trips to Sentosa island."



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