Integrated resorts to invest $9 billion in new attractions, including fourth tower at MBS
Plans also include a 15,000-seat arena, more hotel rooms and new USS themed areas
A new fourth tower at Marina Bay Sands (MBS), a 15,000-seat entertainment arena, 2,000 more hotel rooms and a bigger, refreshed Universal Studios Singapore (USS) theme park.
Tourists and locals alike can look forward to a slew of new attractions and offerings as MBS and Resorts World Sentosa (RWS) look to pump in a combined $9 billion in investments to stay competitive with other travel destinations in the region.
The integrated resort (IR) expansion plans will also directly create up to 5,000 new jobs, the authorities, including the Ministry of Trade and Industry (MTI), said in a joint statement yesterday.
To support the commercial viability of the new attractions and facilities, the IRs will be allowed to expand their casino operations here if they wish to do so. Both IRs are currently allowed 15,000 sq m in approved gaming area.
MBS will be allowed an additional 2,000 sq m and RWS will be allowed an extra 500 sq m, and the IR operators will need to pay the land costs for the extra area.
The operators will also be allowed to increased their allowable gaming machines, by 1,000 for MBS and 800 for RWS respectively.
An MTI spokesman said that the option to deploy these additional gaming provisions will be phased and the IRs will not be allowed to fully exercise their option to increase gaming area and machines until they have completed the non-gaming expansion.
The authorities said that the IRs have indicated that these additional provisions will target higher-spending gamblers, mainly tourists.
MBS chief executive George Tanasijevich told reporters at the briefing yesterday evening that casino revenue is a fundamental part of the integrated resort format and an engine that drives it.
"The casino revenue generation is very important because it pays for things that sometimes lose money, sometimes have a very low return, or that are just very expensive," he said.
The additional $9 billion investment is about two-thirds of the roughly $15 billion that the IRs had initially invested in 2006.
MBS said that the key elements of their expansion plan, which will cost an estimated $4.5 billion, include a new hotel tower that will be built next to existing three MBS towers, a 15,000-seat arena catering mainly to entertainment events, and an additional 30 per cent to 40 per cent more space for meeting, incentive, convention and exhibition (MICE) activities.
It did not give a timeline for when the new facilities are expected to be completed but said the new hotel tower will be designed by architect Moshe Safdie, who designed the existing MBS integrated resort, and will add 1,000 additional luxury hotel rooms and a sky roof.
RWS' expansion plans, dubbed "RWS 2.0", will see it redevelop about half of its current floor area and a new attraction can be expected to be opened each year, starting at the end of next year.
Among the changes are two new themed areas - Super Nintendo World and Minion Park - added to USS, which will be expanded, and the expansion of the S.E.A. Aquarium, which will be tripled in size and be re-branded as the Singapore Oceanarium.
A new driverless transport system across Sentosa Boardwalk will connect the island with the mainland, and is expected to support about 9 million visitors a year.
Nanyang Technological University business lecturer Wong King Yin said she was excited by the upcoming attractions.
"This is infrastructure, or hardware, but in order to keep competitive, we may also need to look at the software - the training for professionals as well as the service standards that we can deliver."
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