SPEECH BY MR LIM HNG KIANG,MINISTER FOR TRADE AND INDUSTRY, AT THE RESORTS WORLD AT SENTOSA GROUNDBREAKING CEREMONY, 16 APRIL 2007, 10.45 AM

Tan Sri Lim Kok Thay, Chairman, Genting International

 

Mr Tan Hee Teck, Chief Executive Officer, Resorts World at Sentosa

 

Distinguished guests,

 

Ladies and gentlemen,

 

Good morning.

 

I am pleased to join you this morning at the groundbreaking ceremony for Resorts World at Sentosa (RWS). Today�s official commencement of the construction works marks a significant milestone in the development of the Integrated Resort at Sentosa.    


IMPACT OF THE TWO IRs IN 2010

2          Our tourism sector is currently enjoying a period of strong growth. Over the next few years, it is set to become even more vibrant and exciting when major tourism developments, such as the Singapore Flyer and Gardens by the Bay are completed.  Together with the two IRs, these will help us achieve our target to attract 17 million visitors and generate S$30 billion in tourism receipts by the year 2015.

 

3         In the year 2010, when both the Marina Bay Sands and Resorts World at Sentosa are operational, we expect a surge in the number of visitors to Singapore. STB has projected that there will be an additional 2 million to 3 million visitors, bringing our total annual visitor arrivals to about 13 to 14 million.  Going by the current growth rate, this will represent a significant 25 per cent increase over the 11 million visitor arrivals projected for the year 2009.  Combined with the expected increase in the length of stay from 3.4 days in 2006 to 3.6 days in 2010, this means that the number of visitors per day will increase significantly by 55 per cent - from about 90,000 in 2006, to nearly 140,000 in 2010. 

 

NEW BUSINESS OPPORTUNITIES ARE CREATED

4         This is definitely good news for the tourism sector and the economy as a whole.  In particular, the tourism sector can expect a sharp rise in demand for their facilities and services, from attractions to hospitality services such as hotels, F&B outlets or even coach services. This presents significant opportunities for us. We should start planning now. In fact, this is the challenge for businesses and industry stakeholders - to put in place plans to ensure that they are ready to leverage on and exploit these new business opportunities.  

 

5         I will now touch on some of these key areas.

 

More hotel rooms are needed

6          First, we will need more hotel rooms to cater to the increase in visitor arrivals. Five sites were put up for tender under the Government Land Sales programme last year, and all of them met with very strong response from investors. Together, these five sites will add over 1,800 new hotel rooms to our inventory.

 

7          There are 13 sites available in the first half of this year under the Government Land Sales programme for hotel development.  Currently, the tenders for two new sites at Beach Road and Tanjong Pagar are ongoing.  If all these sites are sold, we are looking at potentially adding another 5,000 hotel rooms. However, based on our projections, more has to be done and this is why STB is also exploring interesting accommodation concepts such as the adaptive re-use of unoccupied state buildings for conversion to smaller hotels to cater to the diverse needs of our visitors.

 

Increasing Air-capacity

8          In terms of air capacity, the opening of Terminal 3 at Changi Airport next year will boost our annual passenger handling capacity to 64 million, almost double the record 35 million passengers handled by the airport last year. Concurrently, STB is working with the Civil Aviation Authority of Singapore and major airlines to explore ways to increase air capacity so as to cater to the expected increase in visitors. Apart from increasing the number of weekly flights to and from existing destinations, other areas that STB is exploring include expanding the current list of 180 destinations so as to reach out to a wider market. 

 

Dealing with the manpower demand

9          In terms of manpower, the two IRs combined are expected to create some 50,000 to 60,000 additional jobs throughout the economy when both are fully operational. It is projected that there will be a spike in recruitment by the two operators in 2009, particularly in the months leading up to their official openings.

 

10         To enhance the attractiveness of a career in the service sector, STB will be working closely with the industry to encourage the adoption of exemplary HR and workplace practices.  STB will also be launching a three-year campaign this year to highlight the rewarding career options available in the hospitality sector.

 

11         To meet the manpower demand and to improve the quality of the tourism workforce, STB will continue to work with the relevant agencies such as the Ministry of Education (MOE), post-secondary education institutions, and the Workforce Development Agency (WDA).  In particular, to attract the mature workers to join these industries, STB is working with lead agencies such as NTUC and industry associations in the Job Re-creation Programme (JRP). I am heartened that Genting International intends to hire mature and Yellow Ribbon workers and I applaud its efforts to be an inclusive employer of choice.

 

IMPORTANCE OF RESORTS WORLD AT SENTOSA

12         Let me now highlight what we can look forward to when the Resorts World at Sentosa opens in 2010. When completed, Resorts World at Sentosa will be a world-class themed destination offering the largest Universal Studios in Asia, a marine life park, water theme park and maritime museum. In addition, visitors can also enjoy a myriad of retail and entertainment options as well as six hotels offering over 1,800 rooms.

 

13         Resorts World at Sentosa will significantly strengthen Singapore�s attractiveness as a leisure destination of choice for families. In particular, it will strengthen Sentosa�s island resort offerings and contribute to the buzz of activities and attractions at the Southern Waterfront precinct.

 

14         Over the next few weeks, I understand that Resorts World at Sentosa expects to award tenders worth S$508 million for construction and development services such as road diversion, reclamation works and site formation.  These contracts will provide opportunities for our local SMEs and bring about significant job creation in the construction industry.

 

CONCLUSION

15         The tourism sector has performed very well in recent years. With the two IRs coming onstream in the next few years, as well as other major tourism projects, the positive outlook of the industry looks set to continue.

 

16         I extend my heartiest congratulations to Genting International on this special occasion and I look forward to the opening of Resorts World at Sentosa.

 

Thank you.