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‘Currently, Indian travellers constitute the largest proportion of Sentosa’s international guests’

We are working with the right people and partners to penetrate the Tier-II & III markets. Therefore, the cities with direct air connectivity to Singapore are on our radar, says Chin Sak Hin, Assistant Chief Executive & CFO, Sentosa Development Corporation, in an exclusive interview with Prasenjit Chakraborty.

Q. What is the purpose of your visit and how do you want to promote Sentosa in India?

I will say this is a dual-purpose visit. I just signed an MoU with Thomas Cook (India) and SOTC. This is to work together with them to promote Sentosa. Besides this, I’m here to thank our partners and our corporate customers. We really appreciate the support we have been getting over the years.

Q.Can you elaborate on the deal that you have made with Thomas Cook (India) and SOTC? How will it help you?

We will be working with them to develop travel products for Sentosa, and to distribute them in particular, to Tier-II & III cities. They are a multifaceted travel agency in the MICE and corporate segment.

Q.Covid has brought in many changes in the travel industry. So, how has Sentosa changed post lockdown?

I think Covid has really reminded us how important hygiene, safety, and security are. It was our endeavour to provide (hygiene, safety, and security) that even pre-Covid time. But I think that Covid has taught us the importance of these even more. It has fast-tracked our digital journey during a period of limited physical interaction. People are more conscious about their own health, wearing a mask if they are not feeling well. Correspondingly, we have continued with the cleaning regime that we have put in place since Covid.

Q.What kind of itinerary is preferred by Indians for Sentosa? Are you curating any exclusive itineraries for Indian travellers?

We already have itineraries that are well suited for the families, because they do come regularly to Sentosa to enjoy the attractions. We have attractions ranging from Universal Studios Singapore, Skyline Luge Singapore, Sentosa Cable car, among others. So, all these are very familiar to the families.

We sincerely believe we have a lot more things to offer to our guests. We have a plethora of things that can suit young adults, couples, whether someone is newly married or wants to get married. We have very nice beaches, beach clubs and beach restaurants, where they can unwind. And just recently one of our partners, the Shangri-La Group has developed their first lifestyle precinct that is not part of a hotel. That is called the Palawan @ Sentosa. It has a range of activities from electric go-karting to beach cabanas to water play areas for the whole family. There is also Ultra-golf which is the only 18-hole mini golf in Singapore. And the Palawan Food Trucks is a unique food truck cluster with 10 food trucks. In the upcoming months, we will be opening up Tipsy Unicorn Beach Club, which is run by the Tipsy Collective group in Singapore. They run various F&B operations in Singapore. Tipsy Unicorn is 19,000 square feet of beach club, pools, and restaurants and it has a 5,000 square feet space for MICE events. So, it is a kind of a lifestyle club.

Q.What is your capacity to accommodate MICE guests?

In terms of accommodation, we have 17 hotels on the island and we have meeting and conference facilities at the largest resort at Sentosa that can accommodate up to 6,000 people. We also have smaller spaces and restaurants that can hold smaller groups. So, working together with all the island partners we can help to curate a very customised MICE programme on Sentosa.

Q.India is a vast country, and it is not possible to concentrate on all cities simultaneously. So, which are the cities currently your target other than Mumbai and Delhi?

We have established our presence in all the metros. But we are also working with the right people and partners like Thomas Cook to penetrate the Tier-II & III markets. So, the cities with direct air connectivity to Singapore are on our radar.

Q.How many people visited Sentosa Island from India last year?

Tourism numbers are not back to pre-Covid levels. Sentosa Development Corporation has seen a total of 13 million visitors to Sentosa Island for the period April 2022 to March 2023. This is an increase of 38 percent when compared with the total visitors in the same period in the previous year. While we do not track visitors for individual Indian cities to Sentosa, Indian travellers make up the largest proportion of Sentosa’s international guests currently.

Q.What is your message to the Indian travel trade and Indian people so that they visit Sentosa?

Sentosa is in your neighbourhood. This is a journey of four or five-hours by flight. We are well connected to multiple cities in India. Sentosa is a place where you can almost feel at home yet you can enjoy all the tourists and different experiences we can offer in Sentosa. We welcome back our Indian friends, who have been very strong supporters, pre-Covid time.

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