Asked on 18 Apr 2019
According to Business Insider, it costs S$1.3billion to build Jewel Changi. Many critics have pointed out that there are many other ways to use that amount of money to improve Singapore's economy instead. So why did Singapore choose to spend so much on Jewel?
Top Contributor (Apr)
Allow me to showcase the reason in 3 pictures
Take a look at the statistics. Scroll through your social media newsfeed these couple of weeks and what is the most common thing you see, be it on news or shared by friends? JEWEL
If you manage to make a trip down to Jewel and stay till the Waterfall Light Show in the evening, just observe the number of people whipping out their phones to insta-story / Facebook Live the show. It makes my hair stand. Imagine each instastory reaches out to approx. 200 followers, multiply that by the number of insta-stories posted and one will then have the realisation that whatever costs involved was worth it.
One can pay for advertising (posters, facebook ads) but one can never pay for publicity (i.e. word of mouth, reviews etc.)
Furthermore, one has to understand the cruciality of an airport and its surroudning infrasturcture. The Airport serves as the first impression of a country, being the first and the last thing travellers see when they arrive and depart. It's how a country bades a tourist goodbye or hopefully, a see you.
And Singapore has indeed done in right. I personally think much credits has to be given to Chairman of Changi Airport Group, Liew Mun Leong, who was also once the CEO of Capitaland whom I believe has a significant influence in this project. A big kudos to everyone involved in this project.
Changi Airport Group (CAG) managing director for airport operations management, Mr Jayson Goh, said it himself - Changi is positioning to be “a lifestyle destination in itself”.
Apart from the surge in publicity in the next few months, think about how it helps CAG's position as the top airport in the world.
Additionally, the tourism sector is important. Consider the following statistics in 2018:
It’s the standard Singapore success formula; iconic structure (in a small city) = must visit for tourists = dine and shop there for convenience & impressed by architecture = take nice photos for SNS = free promotion, loop the cycle. It worked for the MBS-GBTB / downtown area, what more for an attraction that you can visit the moment you arrive in Singapore or before leaving? And Jewel can also attract additional crowd - travellers with connecting flights. But will need effort to upkeep the eatery standards / menu (variety of what they can offer) in order to keep the constant steaming of local crowd in the long run. Maybe that’s why many instagrammable spots to attract influencer-wannabes.
Very interesting that ST leaves this article free to read https://www.straitstimes.com/singapore/tourist-spending-in-singapore-hit-record-268b-in-2017-china-top-source-of-visitors
But it clearly states tourists in Singapore in 2017: 17.4 million
Meanwhile if you search number of transit passengers in 2017, Changi Airport has reported the numbers in their website as 62.2 million.
Clearly 44.8 million people passing by CAG should be given an opportunity to do some lovely convenient shopping or at the barest minimum spend some dollars at the yummy food paradise of SG? ( enter new fast and efficient scan passports and go custom system for all terminals)
Based on the tourist dollars and number of tourists in sg, per pax spent $1540.22 in SG. So if the 44.8 million people just spent say 1/3 of tourists spent ie about 500 bucks, that will be 23 billion bucks per year. What is 1.3 billion?
The unfortunate reality is that Singapore has to keep up with regional and global competition. Regional airports are all expanding and upgrading, Singapore has to splash the cash to keep up.
Singapore adopts a systems approach to everything. Jewel Changi is only a cog in the tourism strategy. Add in the URA Draft Masterplan to rejuvenate Orchard Road and make the CBD more livable, the planned T5 and T6 terminals, plus the planned expansion of the 2 Integrated Resorts, you start to see the push to keep Singapore attractive and to justify all this infrastructure spending.
To show that Singapore is always at the forefront of changing her landscape. And to set an amazing example that aviation and tourism are very important aspects.
Mostly to consolidate Singapore's position as the world's best airport no doubt. Having the world's best airport for the past 7 years running is no small feat for a small country like Singapore, and with our geographical location being a layover stop between asia and the rest of the world our airport is really the biggest impression that travellers will get from their time in Singapore. I don't particularly agree with the entire idea that it will boost travel though - people won't necessarily come to Singapore just to see a big mall, they come to see culture, eat food, experience the night life. The Jewel is but a decoration or a not so subtle flex by Singapore to showcase our wealth, and governmental efficiency. 5 years to build such a huge complex - Countries 10s of times bigger than us take 5 years to merely lay the foundations!
To generate retail revenue for the Airport so that airport related fees such as landing fee, security fee can be competitive. This will attract more airlines to consider Singapore as a base and thus, bringing more travellers in to Singapore and in turn, boosting our tourism sector
Because it rather make the foreign tourists smile than our poor old, thin and hunch-back folks picking up empty drinks cans and cardboards to fill their hungry and always empty stomach.
Singapore being a small island country require large amount of resources to drive its economy. In order to do so, it needs to establish itself as a world class trading hub and stopover for investors and traders so that resources can be exchanged and deals can be easily made in the country. To facilitate the process, land planning and architectures are made to be efficient and comfortable. Given its lack of natural disasters and high security, it further established itself as a safe haven for investor. Jewel is just one of the many land planning strategies to place Singapore as an attractive place to establish headquarters, finance hub, and a place to form diplomatic ties between entities.
In my humble opinion, it make's Singapore under the spotlight once again. Showcasing some of their best ideas, architecture, engineering. It attracts tourist to pay a visit, attract in new investor/brands, allowing the country to have another reason to pay a visit. This could boost tourism, which could generate revenue for the country in the long run and in many other ways.
I see Jewel as a combination of a garden, a musical fountain, and a large mall that has a cinema.
For relativity let's use the examples of Gardens by the bay (the only other big garden in sg), Sentosa's Wings of Time (the cost of this was easier to find than the MBS light show) and Vivocity (Vivo has 1.5mil sq ft of retail space, vs 1.46mil in Jewel, close enough).
Gardens by the bay cost 1.03bil, Wings of time 10mil (just to change the original 30mil Songs of the Sea to another theme), Vivo 417mil. Those add up to more than 1.3bil.
Do we need replicas of the existing places of attraction? Maybe not, but we keep building shopping centres everywhere else anyway.
Is it nice to have all the attractions above (and more) under one roof? Yes.
As a Singaporean, am i proud that we have created such a spectacle in such a short time? Yes.
Was my mrt journey there from my home at Pioneer worth it? Yes.
Does Jewel make me like Changi Airport at least a little better? Yes.
Then build lor.
As a taxpayer and Singaporean, the benefits to Singapore’s reputation, image and economy in the long run far outweigh the costs.
I give my 100% support. Thank you, PAP for your foresight and bold move.