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Phase 1 of Sentosa-Brani Master Plan to be completed in 2022

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One of many artist impressions of the proposed masterplan to transform Sentosa and Pulau Brani into a “game-changing leisure and tourism destination”.

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One of many artist impressions of the proposed masterplan to transform Sentosa and Pulau Brani into a “game-changing leisure and tourism destination”.

impress3.jpeg
One of many artist impressions of the proposed masterplan to transform Sentosa and Pulau Brani into a “game-changing leisure and tourism destination”.

THE first phase of a decades-long master plan to transform Sentosa and Pulau Brani into a "game-changing leisure and tourism destination" will be completed in 2022 to the tune of S$90 million, but it will also result in the demolition of the iconic Sentosa Merlion, Sentosa Development Corporation (SDC) revealed on Friday.

Sentosa Sensoryscape will link Resorts World Sentosa (RWS) in the north to Sentosa's beaches in the south through a "multi-sensory experience" that will also replace the existing pedestrian thoroughfare.

The Sentosa Merlion, which is operated by One Faber Group Singapore, and other existing attractions and food and beverage offerings in that area will be permanently closed from Oct 21 as construction is set to begin.

These are part of larger plans under the Sentosa-Brani Master Plan, unveiled by Senior Minister of State for Trade & Industry and Education Chee Hong Tat on Friday. The master plan was first outlined by Prime Minister Lee Hsien Loong during the National Day Rally in August.

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SDC chief executive Quek Swee Kuan said the master plan will be rolled out in phases over the next two to three decades and is expected to bring in a "considerable" increase in the number of visitors, up from the current 19 million annually.

"The Merlion was first set up in 1995, at that time we received about four to six million guests (annually), and the capacity today will not allow us to bring about over 19 million guests coming to the island. So, with a view of increasing the capacity and enhancing guest experience through a multi-sensory approach, and also supporting universal design to allow guests of different abilities to walk comfortably from RWS to the beach, we have taken the decision for the Merlion to make way for this new experience, so as to deepen our engagement with our guests who increasingly are more sophisticated and well-connected," Mr Quek told reporters following a media briefing.

The redeveloped islands will feature five distinct zones, with each zone progressively taking on a more leisurely character as guests travel further from the city into the islands.

The five zones are Vibrant Cluster, Island Heart, Waterfront, Ridgeline and Beachfront.

Mr Quek said the corporation is considering ways to commemorate the Merlion even as it is looking into the possibility of creating a new icon for the island. He also said the SDC is in talks with potential hospitality and attraction players in its bid to bring more attractions to the island under the master plan.

Speaking to reporters after the plans were unveiled, Mr Chee said: "Beyond Sentosa and Brani, we also have the Southern Islands and there are also plans to see how we can in the short to medium term enhance the value of something that is very precious to us for ecotourism, for families to visit and learn more about a part of Singapore."