Tourism plans for Southern Islands put on hold

By Krist Boo Straits Times 12 Apr 07

Five months after announcing with much fanfare that the Southern Islands would be turned into the next big tourist attraction, the plans have been put on hold.

Although the Singapore Tourism Board wouldn’t reveal why, industry sources say the Government is considering housing a casino on the six-island cluster. If this is true, the islands could remain asthey are for the next 10 years.

If the two IRs prove to be successful, the Southern Islands will command a premium, the tourism industry sources said.

The STB would not comment on the speculation, saying only: ‘A premium destination, an eco-tourism resort, or an attraction
leveraging on the islands’ existing cultural elements – all remain possibilities.’

The STB had, in November last year, said it would in the first quarter of this year come up with tender guidelines to transform the island into a tourist attraction, possibly for the well-heeled.

The board did meet potential investors in January to gauge their interest and listen to ideas, but the results apparently were not very encouraging.

In response to queries from The Straits Times, STB’s assistant chief executive for leisure, Dr Chan Tat Hong, said: ‘No decision has been made yet on a development concept, including whether an RFC (request for concepts) exercise will be launched.’

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