Our group’s choice of attraction is the Singapore Flyer (FIG.1). Endorsed by the Singapore Tourism Board (STB) and opened on 25th April 2008, the Flyer stands at 165m in height and was built at a cost of S$240 million. It is ranked #19 out of 276 attractions in Singapore on TripAdvisor and is one of the attractions that make up the “See Singapore Pass”. A General Assessment of the Singapore Flyer
With reference to Butler’s Tourism Area Cycle of Evolution theory (1980), the Flyer is likely to be at the development stage (third stage) as it has established itself as a well-known paid tourist attraction with sharp planning and strategies designed to attract tourists. Visitor arrivals in 2010 were 30% higher than in 2009, largely due to the Flyer’s $10 million master plan that included the launch of the Singapore Food Trail and the Journey of Dreams interactive gallery. However, it has also faced much criticism for its perceived lack of authenticity and dilution of local culture. For example, the Singapore Food Trail (FIG.2) can be considered a form of constructed authenticity – it has a themed interior design and setting from the past as well as makeshift stalls along the roadside, all of which brings back the nostalgic feel and charm of Singapore in the 1960s. This shows how the Flyer has sought to keep up with “The Tourist” who demands authenticity and associated feelings of nostalgia for the “natural past” (GE2218 Lecture 5, 2013) There are multiple reasons to explain why this attraction was opened. Firstly, the Flyer is one of a few vantage points that offer both locals and tourists a 360o panoramic view of the cityscape. Secondly, it was to be a revenue-generating attraction for the government as 50% of visitors were expected to be tourists with S$94 million in tourism receipts generated in its opening year. Third, as the Flyer is similarly styled to the London Eye (London being an Alpha++ city), opening it could be viewed as a political and economic gesture to the rest of the world that not only is Singapore a leading world city, it is also an attractive place for foreign investment. According to Ms Patsy Ong, “the opening of Singapore Flyer herald[s] a new age for tourism in Singapore...the unique and exhilarating top-of-the-world experience makes Singapore Flyer a must-see and compelling visitor destination in Asia.” Fourth, the Flyer provides Singapore with an iconic landmark that can be recognized internationally, more so when set amidst a necklace of attractions such as the iconic Marina Bay Sands Integrated Resort next door. The Flyer serves those who wish to take in Singapore’s cityscape from an aerial view as well as those who want to eat and shop before or after taking the attraction. It tries to cater to a range of age groups, socio-economic back grounds and nationalities. Examples include having student discounts on certain days, family packages, infrastructure that support wheelchair users, multiple restaurants and shops as well as a recreated Rainforest garden (FIG.3) that provides visitors with a lush tropical feel. However, despite trying to stay inclusive by catering to the mainstream crowd, many still feel the Flyer tickets are too expensive - it is therefore highly likely that people from lower-income groups are priced out and excluded. The Flyer attracts a range of visitors although the majority of people there were tourists. According to one of the staff at XD Experiential Ride, visitors to the Flyer comprise largely of tourist families and couples. Couples normally visit at night while the weekends see mostly families. Generally, the complex was observed to be largely empty on a weekday afternoon (FIG.4). Times of day as well as weather has a great influence on when people visit – most visitors prefer to view the cityscape at night while bad weather limits maximum enjoyment of the ride. Numerous people such as retail and F&B...
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