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New Mandai attractions hope to draw 10m visitors, boost job market

SINGAPORE — Come 2023, the ambitious mega-nature attraction in the works at Mandai, which includes a revamped Bird Park that will showcase birds from the Sub-Antarctic to Africa, is expected to draw 10 million visitors a year while creating more job opportunities.

A new penguin tank will be built at the revamped Bird Park at Mandai. Photo: Mandai Park Holdings

A new penguin tank will be built at the revamped Bird Park at Mandai. Photo: Mandai Park Holdings

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SINGAPORE — Come 2023, the ambitious mega-nature attraction in the works at Mandai, which includes a revamped Bird Park that will showcase birds from the Sub-Antarctic to Africa, is expected to draw 10 million visitors a year while creating more job opportunities.

This is more than double the 4.6 million visitors the four current wildlife parks operated by Wildlife Reserves Singapore — Singapore Zoo, Night Safari, River Safari and the Jurong Bird Park — draw each year.

Video: Mandai Park Holdings

Revealing this after a ground-seeding ceremony yesterday to mark the start of construction works, Mandai Park Holdings (MPH) group chief executive officer Mike Barclay added: “We’re pretty confident that we can double the visitation to the parks.”

In comparison, Sentosa drew 19.5 million visitors in 2015, according to its Financial Year 15/16 annual report. For the same year, Resorts World Sentosa, which includes attractions such as Universal Studios Sentosa and the S.E.A. Aquarium, saw nearly seven million visitors to its attractions.

Minister for Trade and Industry (Industry) S Iswaran, who was the guest-of-honour at the ceremony yesterday, said that the redeveloped Mandai precinct will be able to attract tourists who are “interested in eco-friendly experiences that complement an urban lifestyle”. There will also be interesting career opportunities for those interested in conservation, research and hospitality, he added.

MPH did not say how many new jobs could be created, but Mr Barclay noted that as the scale of operations grows, staff will be able to rotate through different job functions.

Wildlife Reserves Singapore currently employs over a thousand full-time staff. By 2023, the area, which currently houses the Singapore Zoo, Night Safari and River Safari, will be expanded to include the relocated Bird Park and a new Rainforest Park, as well as a nature-themed indoor attraction and eco-sensitive lodging.

Yesterday, MPH revealed more details of the attractions visitors can expect at the Bird Park and the new Rainforest Park, scheduled to open by 2020 and 2021 respectively.

Visitors will be able to enter the expanded attraction via the east and west arrival areas, while the place will be connected by more public spaces such as green landscaped decks, walking trails and boardwalks.

The west arrival area will lead to the 17ha Bird Park, which will have nine themed aviaries, such as the Papua New Guinean and African rainforests, a South-east Asian jungle and the Australian bushland, showcasing a wide variety of bird species.

MPH also unveiled plans for a “Crimson Wetlands” attraction that will showcase red and pink-hued species of plants and animals — such as flamingos — in a recreation of the flooded savannahs of South and Central America. Visitors can also observe Sub-Antarctic penguins in a re-creation of their natural habitat both above and under water.

The Rainforest Park, also accessible from the west arrival area, will house an underground cavern featuring various cave life-forms and geological formations.

Visitors can travel along the boardwalks to be built along the animals’ watering holes, and up aerial walkways to be built at tree-canopy-level to be closer to the langurs, gibbons and orangutans living in the tree-tops. Trekking and adventure activities will also be available at this park.

The Rainforest Forest Park will be completed by 2021 instead of 2023, due to changes in the scheduling of construction works, where the works in the western part of the Mandai precinct will be completed first.

Redevelopment plans for the Mandai precinct have been adjusted twice: During the Environmental Impact Assessment report commissioned by MPH, and after a month-long consultation that followed the release of the report last July.

While the majority of the opinions have been useful to the project, Mr Barclay noted that there have been some who felt that there should not be any developments at all.

“(But) the decision has now been made and we are starting work. We want to continue our very constructive discussion about how do we develop in the right way, and how do we do it in a sensitive way,” he said.

 

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