Friday, September 29, 2023

Resorts World Sentosa unveils expansion details for RWS 2.0

Resorts World Sentosa (RWS) reveals some its upcoming expansions strategized for a post-pandemic future. These expanded offerings include completely new visitor experiences. First announced in 2019, its expansion plan, known as RWS 2.0, will add a mix of all-new attractions, entertainment and lifestyle offerings to the destination resort. Construction will commence in the second quarter of 2022 starting with the expansion of two major RWS attractions.

Universal Studios Singapore will feature a new immersive themed zone, Minion Land. At the same time, S.E.A. Aquarium will be significantly enhanced and rebranded as the Singapore Oceanarium. Together with other refurbishment works, construction will commence with about S$400 million (USD$273 million) to be spent as project investment in 2022.

Concept rendering of Minion Land at Universal Studios Singapore. Image credit: Universal Parks & Resorts

Minion Land will delight audiences with its mischievous Minions from Illumination’s Despicable Me. Multiple rides will be offered in the land including a world’s first original ride exclusive to Universal Studios Singapore, and Despicable Me Minion Mayhem, an immersive motion-simulator 3D ride.

Complementing the high-tech entertainment of Minion Land, the Singapore Oceanarium (SGO) is set to be three times the size of the current S.E.A. Aquarium, where it will showcase a larger scale and depth of content than before, brought to life through digital innovation and interactive technology. Exhibits will provide immersive and multi-sensory storytelling of the evolution of the oceans’ inhabitants and oceanic zones such as the largely unexplored deep ocean, as well as unique representations of Singapore’s coastal ecosystems.

Photos courtesy of Resorts World Sentosa.

SGO will also encompass a Research and Learning Centre which will be carbon-neutral. Fully equipped with immersive learning labs, collaborative workspaces, seminar rooms and a rooftop event space, the Centre will augment SGO’s robust educational offerings and provide advanced facilities for scientists and researchers to conduct research work and drive marine science outreach on-site. S.E.A. Aquarium will remain open as expansion work for Singapore Oceanarium begins in the second half of 2022.

In addition, RWS will be refurbishing three of its hotels, namely Hard Rock Hotel Singapore, Hotel Michael and Festive Hotel which collectively offer over 1,200 rooms. These hotels will undergo renovation works in phases from the second quarter of 2022 through 2023. When completed, Festive Hotel will be refashioned into a bleisure (business-leisure) and workation (work-vacation) hotel with a variety of mobile working spaces and lifestyle offerings that will meet new work trends. To strengthen RWS’s position as a business destination, a facility refurbishment and upgrade is also planned for the Resorts World Convention Centre.

From coral relocation to rainwater harvesting, a solar panel farm to three hectares (7.4 acres) of preserved forest, RWS became the first destination in the world to achieve both the Global Sustainable Tourism Council (GSTC) Destination Criteria and GSTC Industry Criteria for Hotels in August 2021. It was also conferred the inaugural Special Award for Sustainability at the Singapore Tourism Awards and the Singapore Association of Convention and Exhibition Organisers and Suppliers’ (SACEOS) Meetings, Incentives, Conferences and Exhibitions (MICE) Sustainability Certificate, Intermediate Tier for Venue in 2021.

As RWS embarks on its next stage of development, it is reinforcing its longstanding commitment to sustainability by developing the “RWS Full Circle framework” to align its business with low carbon and circular economy, create positive socio-economic impact and to better serve current and future generations.

Its first initiative is a collaboration with the National University of Singapore (NUS) which was announced on January 5, 2022. Known as the RWS-NUS Living Laboratory with RWS committing S$10 million (USD$7.4 million) in funding support, the 5-year applied research collaboration focuses on marine biodiversity conservation and decarbonization places RWS and NUS. The partnership targets to increase local marine biodiversity, support marine conservation research and education in Singapore, lower carbon emission and develop critical decarbonization and integrative nature-based solutions across multiple domains including energy, water and waste. This is in tandem with RWS’s pledge to achieve carbon neutrality by 2030.

Resorts World Sentosa CEO Tan Hee Teck says, “With our upcoming RWS 2.0 developments, we are confident that RWS will be well-positioned to lead the recovery of Singapore’s tourism as borders gradually reopen. We are excited to welcome the return of more international travelers with an even more vibrant RWS in the near future.

“RWS’s vision for the next decade is to become a sustainable and innovative top tourism destination in line with the Singapore Green Plan. As we begin construction works on our expansion, we continue to pursue a holistic approach to destination building. We are acutely aware of the need to embody into our designs a more sustainable environment, and are engaging various stakeholders and consultants to incorporate the latest technology and research into our developments to achieve this goal.”

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