Singapore is adding to its extensive portfolio of nature-based attractions with the launch of a major new project. Mandai’s eco-tourism hub will include the creation of two brand new wildlife parks, a bird park and a rainforest park.
Mandai Park Holdings (MPH) has started construction of on its new “Mandai rejuvenation project”. This project will involve the expansion of the Singapore Zoo, River Safari and Night Safari. Added to this will be a brand new bird park, a rainforest park, a nature-themed indoor attraction and “eco-accommodation” options.
The new bird park and rainforest park are due to open in 2020 and 2021 respectively.
The project will utilise “impacted land”, that is land that has been earmarked for redevelopment since 2008. It will also make use of space currently used by Mandai’s three nature parks. The project passed an Environmental Impact Assessment in October last year.
Jobs in Tourism, Conservation, Hospitality
On completion, Mandai’s eco-tourism hub will draw over 10 million visitors a year. It will also create a significant number of jobs in tourism, conservation research and hospitality. The four existing parks in the hub attract 4.5 million people a year.
S Dhanabalan, chairman of MPH, said, “Reviews and discussions on Mandai’s rejuvenation have been going on for several years with various stakeholders. With the necessary government approvals now obtained, we are delighted to mark this milestone with our partners today”, said
A range of bird species will feature in the new bird park. Rare and threatened species will be exhibited in “large walk-through aviaries, themed after different regions of the world”.
A highlight of the new Bird Park will be a habitat for sub-Antarctic penguins. Mandai promised a “fly with the penguins” experience for visitors.
The Bird Park and Sustainability
MPH said the facility will adopt breeding, conservation and educational programmes. The bird park will act as a “sanctuary where… birds will be preserved, studied and reproduced”.
Speaking at the launch, Minister for Trade and Industry (Industry) S Iswaran looked forward to “a rejuvenated experience in Mandai” once the first phase of the project – the opening of the Bird Park – is finished in 2020.
He said the project would enhance Singapore’s identity as a “city in a garden” and create career opportunities for Singaporeans interested in conservation research and hospitality.
“With a strong focus on conservation and sustainability, Mandai will be a hub for nature education and research as well as a leading nature destination in Asia.”
Mandai Park Holdings’ chief executive officer, Mike Barclay added that the plan was to run the five parks as an integrated precinct. This will mean that staff can rotate and work in the different parks and in different roles.
“We currently employ about 1, 000 people full-time and we have many part-timers working with us. Our scale of operations will grow. We’ll have two new zoological parks here to staff up here in Mandai. We’ll have a hotel product – an eco-lodge product – and also an indoor centre, so there will be a lot of job opportunities.”
The new rainforest park will reproduce a Southeast Asian jungle. Boardwalks will allow visitors itowalk at multiple levels, from ground-level to the canopy. Alongside the new parks, the project will create new entrances to all of MPH’s parks. Furthermore, there will be a new basement transport hub, event spaces and new walkways.
The project will be completed in phases, with the bird park and rainforest park scheduled to open by 2020 and 2021 respectively.
All images, video, Mandai Park Holdings