That aside, when they do something well, we should applaud and try to learn from it. It was a far fetched idea when Genting was bidding for one of the IR slots. Surely they were in stiff competition where global operators with "more experience" in transplanting a lavish IR were around.
The other thing that I counted against Genting was their tacky taste in design and fit outs. I mean, look at Genting Highlands. Even the new resort at Sentosa has some "cringe worthy" design flaws. Call it taste, class or ambiance, either you have it or you don't. You may be able to buy the most expensive design brains, but when top management has the right to overrule and make changes, you get the watered down version.
To succeed where others failed. In hindsight, this is the key to winning the Sentosa IR bid. Track onto what the client really wants, tap their insecurities, concerns and expectations. The thing is, most clients will NEVER tell you their real insecurities and underlying expectations - which inevitably will be what they finally base their decision making process on, but most of the times are never enunciated. Instead of just presenting what you think is a lavish, mega entertainment, modern, high-tech concept ... did anyone really address Singapore's insecurities, concerns and expectations?
How did Genting do it? They had one advantage, being close neighbours, we all understood how Singapore think and operate. Kiasu and kiasi, though often bandied around as jokes, have more truth in them than meet the eyes.
Their main concerns: must more than match the glitz of Macau, complete with being a super entertainment and shopping mecca for MICE as well. That was accomplished with Sands. You don't need two of that, hence the Sentosa IR has to be different than the one in the city.
Singapore concern is not Las Vegas, Australia or Monaco ... its Macau/HK. The Sentosa IR was an opportunity to match or take a large stride to overhaul HK, or improve on what HK offers. HK has Disneyland, so Universal Studios is a good match. The fact that Disneyland has an on/off ploy to operate in Iskandar only played into Genting's understanding of Singapore's concerns. You don't need another Disneyland, so close to HK's. It has to be different.
The other thing was Ocean Park in HK. Walla ... Ocean Park being pretty dated now would now be usurped by Sentosa's "world's largest oceanarium".
The third concern would have been the casino in Genting Highlands. You want outright cannibalism with the IRs or someone who will work harder to make the IR a success even though there is another casino a few hours away. Better to work with the "enemy" than to fight them tooth and nail.
Developer Resorts World Sentosa said it will open the "world's largest oceanarium" in the middle of next year, which is expected to lure tourists away from the venerable Ocean Park. After taking on Hong Kong Disneyland with Universal Studios Singapore, the Lion City is set to unveil a rival to Ocean Park.
Marine Life Park, an eight-hectare home to 700,000 fish inside a 30-million-liter lagoon, is on track for Sentosa's phase two expansion, which also includes a maritime museum, an aquarium and two hotels. Ocean Park covers 87 hectares but its Grand Aquarium contains only 5,000 fish of more over 400 species. The new marine park was revealed at Friday's grand opening of Universal Studios Singapore, one of the resort's anchor attractions on an island off the southern coast.
Its official opening came nine months after its soft launch and was attended by former American Idol judge and now X Factor USA judge Paula Abdul and iconic Hong Kong actress Maggie Cheung Man-yuk.
"The advantage we probably have here is that the Universal Studios is in the same resort as the Marine Life Park," said Sentosa executive chairman Lim Kok Thay. "When compared with Hong Kong, we actually have two in one [attractions]."
He admits that Marine Life Park "shares a lot of similarities in concept" with its competitor in Hong Kong, adding the resort learned a lot from the Ocean Park group in particular. It is in the same HK$41 billion integrated resort with the movie theme park and a casino, which was developed by Genting Singapore.
The city-state's concentrated effort to lure tourists away from neighboring travel destinations such as Hong Kong has been paying off. Last year, it welcomed a record 12 million visitors, a year- on-year rise of around 25 percent. Since March, Universal Studios Singapore has attracted about two million visitors, of whom 75 percent are foreigners.
The 20-hectare theme park now has 21 rides and shows in seven themed zones, the newest a river boat ride. It launched the world's tallest dueling roller coasters, Battlestar Galactica, in February. Universal Studios Singapore, the second of its kind in Asia after the one in Japan, covers an area of 25 football fields - smaller than Ocean Park and the world's smallest Disneyland in Hong Kong.
Ocean Park welcomed the marine park, saying it would generate competition and attract more tourists to Asia.