Singapore’s new resorts stealing all the thunder

Fresh from recording record numbers of visitors in 2010, Singapore's tourism chiefs have turned the focus on to exactly who is going to see what when they come to town.

And it seems the city state's flash new resort's are now unsurprisingly grabbing the lion's share of arrivals.

The Association of Singapore Attractions has just released the results of its first survey into arrivals at its individual members, which include destinations such as the massive new developments on the city's Sentosa Island as well as more traditional places such as the Singapore Zoo.

A total of 31 attractions were polled in February for the survey, which revealed that overall these places attracted more than 34 million visitors last year, a rise of 56.3 per cent year on year.

Overall, Singapore attracted a record number of 11.6 million visitors last year.

Benefiting most from the rise was Sentosa, which last year saw the official rolling out of attractions at the US$4.4 billion (three billion euro) Resorts World Sentosa, which include a casino-resort and Asia's first Universal Studios theme park.

Last year visitor numbers to Sentosa soared 185 per cent - from the 2009 mark of 6.2 million to 17.7 million in 2010

Attractions outside Sentosa suffered an overall drop in numbers of 1.2 per cent, according to the survey, but Singapore's city centre - which features a selection of museums and art galleries - saw a drop of 4.4 per cent.

A spokesman for the Sentosa Leisure Group, which oversees the island, claimed to Asiaone.com that the destination was however more than just a collection of fancy hotel and rides. He said "easy connectivity between attractions, reduced queuing times and ample retail and food-and-beverage outlets are other factors which have made Sentosa a hit."

The Singapore government has injected billions of dollars into developing its tourism attractions over the past five years as it looks to rival other traditional regional destinations such as Hong Kong and Taiwan.

Singapore's main source of visitors has long been nearby Indonesia and Malaysia but more and more it is marketing itself as a place for Chinese tourists to visit.

Last year an estimated 1.2 million Chinese visited Singapore - a rise of 25 per cent from 2009 - in what was seen as a worrying trend in Hong Kong in particular as that has long been the number one destination for China's travelers, last year attracted 22.7 from across the border.

MS

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