Temptation island

Tuesday, October 27, 2009
Issue 854, Page 2
Word count: 599
Published in: Macau Daily Times

By Poyi (Natalie) Leung

I’m already eyeing at the upcoming Universal Studios Singapore in the Sentosa island resort, which is going to be the first movie theme park in Southeast Asia and the second one is Asia.

Don’t blame me please, you know Macau lacks impressive entertainment and leisure facilities, don’t you? (For me, well, casinos don’t count…)

Resorts World at Sentosa positions itself as a world-class family resort set to open in early 2010. Visitors will not only find the famous American movie theme park there, but also the world’s largest oceanarium in the Marine Life Park; a thrilling water slide, water cannons and a surf pool in Equarius Water Park; a huge 360-degree multimedia theatre in the Maritime Xperiential Museum; a half kilometre strip “FestiveWalk” that will offer 24/7 dining, shopping, clubbing, shows and television productions; as well as a resident theatre show “Le Vie” which will be delivered through powerful music, dazzling stage sets and splendid costumes.

Some of these attractions do look a bit familiar, right? But they are not quite the same.

In Macau, what we have to offer are casinos, casinos and casinos. True, Macau is also known by its prestigious World Heritage sites and unique cuisines. But what’s more?

What Macau has at this moment which are similar to the nature of the new Sentosa attractions are City of Dreams’ three-dimensional production in its iconic dome-shaped theatre, the resident show by Cirque du Soleil, or perhaps all those luxury shopping malls where you barely see someone spending money most of the time. If you can name something else, please tell me.

The Hong Kong media are already warning Donald Tsang Yam Kuen’s government that the opening of Universal Studios in its main competitor Singapore will pose an immediate threat to Hong Kong’s tourism industry and hence the economy.

Amongst the 24 rides and attractions including a pair of dueling roller coasters, 18 have been created or redesigned specially for Singapore. The theme park will consist of seven themed zones, of which two are named “Far Far Away” and “Madagascar” respectively based on the computer-animated movies Shrek and Madagascar.

Only by looking at these descriptions I absolutely can’ wait for the opening of Resorts World Sentosa. I guess most of the readers, no matter how old you are, by now should have said the same thing in your mind – “I want to go, I want to go!!!”

If Hong Kong needs to be worried about the competition to be brought by Sentosa, I would say Macau is in an even more vulnerable position.

At least in Hong Kong there are Ocean Parks and Disneyland, amongst other attractions. In contrast to Macau, I can see nothing particularly appealing or exciting.

Our officials say the experiences tourists can find in Macau are unique and so the territory is still able to attract people from outside. But after all these years when tourists have seen and tasted the same things over and over again, I can’t see why they won’t be tempted by the brand new attractions in a neighbouring country.

Some gaming operators have been saying how they wanted to make their properties become an integrated resort for families, but so far what we can see is basically large casinos plus luxury brand stores plus food courts/restaurants plus (too) many hotels yet limited entertainment.

The Macau government really needs to accelerate the pace and create something which will truly astonish tourists and also local residents. Or else they might very soon find their visitors and citizens having a sun bath (and great fun) in Sentosa whenever holidays come.


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