Anyone who’s ever been to Singapore knows how popular an attraction the Universal Studios Singapore (USS) is. January 2017 marked the USS’s 25th million visitor since it first opened to the public in March 2010.
Additionally, the amusement park has won several accolades over the years, including TripAdvisor 2017 Top Amusement Park in all of Asia — beating popular regional attractions like Hong Kong Disneyland and Universal Studios Japan.
But regardless of TripAdvisor’s criteria, what is it that makes USS such a great destination?
The Heart of Asia
Despite it being one of the smallest nations in Asia, Singapore’s economy ranks among the world’s most competitive.
Trade comprises the backbone of its economy, since Singapore is situated in the middle of key trade routes through Europe, America, the Middle East, Australia, and the rest of Asia.
Naturally, this makes Singapore an ideal stopover destination. News.com.au reports that Singapore’s new partnership with Australian airline Qantas means the country is the centre for connecting flights to Europe and other regions.
Hence, travellers who have long layovers are likely to spend more time exploring Singapore’s most popular attractions, which definitely includes the USS.
The Universal Appeal
Over the years, Universal Studios has released numerous movies that have resonated with audiences around the globe. That’s why it’s no surprise that the theme parks that revolve around and expand on these films have found great success in Asia.
For instance, fans of the Jurassic Park franchise may want to see USS’s stunning Lost World zone, which is heavily inspired by the studios’ successful films. The Jurassic films have become such a global cultural phenomenon, influencing not just movies and parks, but even games as well.
Leading European gaming portal Slingo Slots hosts a game called Jurassic Park Online Slots, which is inspired both by USS’s Lost World and the film that started the global dinosaur phenomenon.
Other titles like Theme Park: Tickets of Fortune are also inspired by amusement parks. This is without doubt a testament to the universal appeal of the studios’ productions, and how it is applied across media and real-life attractions.
It’s also worth noting that Universal Studios, being one of the top entertainment places in Singapore, has also helped shift the country away from being just a business hub.
Right now, there are plenty of reasons to visit Singapore aside from doing business, such as its local cuisine and Michelin star restaurants as well as its contemporary and sustainable architecture.
And thanks to attractions like the USS, entertainment is definitely one of them.
Hub for Cultural Diversity
Beyond the country’s location and the popularity of the theme park itself, there may be other factors at play. Singapore boasts a wide range of cultures and ethnicities as it is home to people of Chinese, Malay, Indian, Eurasian, and Peranakan descent.
Despite the differences among these communities, the country recognises and celebrates each of their traditions. For instance, national holidays in Singapore include the Chinese New Year, Deepavali, and Hari Raya Puasa.
In light of Singapore’s multiculturalism, the USS holds a diverse range of cultural events every year. This makes it even more appealing to international tourists who celebrate these festivities, too. For instance, journalist Veeramalla Anjaiah writes how popular USS’s year-end holiday attractions are with Indonesians.
The future of Singapore tourism
So what does USS’s popularity mean for Singapore’s tourism? Well, there has long been a notion of Singapore as a “boring and expensive” city — but the country’s recent tourism numbers show that this is far from reality.
The popularity of USS among international travellers may be one reason why Singapore has been able to attract a loyal base of repeat tourists.
As a permanent attraction, the USS can further bolster Singapore’s tourism by highlighting its diverse cultures through seasonal events.
Meanwhile, its globally appealing attractions, such as the Transformers and Battlestar Galactica rides, ensure that international travellers are always interested in new attractions.
This steady balance of reliable activities and fresh offerings makes the USS an appealing attraction in Singapore’s already saturated arts and music festival calendar — a problem we explored previously here on Popspoken.
Singapore has tons to offer, and a single weekend definitely isn’t enough to experience all of its wonderful sights.
But if the country has learned one thing, it’s that USS has proven to be a great gateway into driving new tourists into Singapore in recent years.
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