Will Jewel Changi Airport be the ‘Gem of a Destination’?

May 13, 2019 / By

Residents in Singapore and visitors alike can now add another destination to their list of indulging in the nation’s favourite pastime – eating and shopping. Designed by renowned architect Moshe Safdie, the toroid-shaped Jewel Changi Airport mixed-use development has officially opened on 17 April.

The centrepiece of the attraction is a 40-metre “Rain Vortex”, the world’s tallest indoor waterfall that is surrounded by a “Forest Valley” of more than 900 trees and 60,000 shrubs. Jewel’s retail offerings are wrapped around the nature elements of this waterfall and lush greenery. The plethora of flagship stores and exclusive or new concepts/new-to-market brands amounting to 280 shopping and dining outlets/spots spread over Basement 2 to Level 5 of the 10-storey structure helped very much to draw crowds. As the first entry point for incoming travellers and the last stop for outbound passengers, it is also fitting to have a selection of home-grown brands and signature local cuisines on offer. On the top floor, come June, there will also be a 14,000 sqm recreational space for visitors of all ages to explore mazes and other ‘Play’ activities. The first YOTELAIR hotel established in Asia offers flexible hours for its 130 cabins, perfect for business travellers and transit passengers. Under its ‘Fly’ experience pillar, aviation facilities such as early check-in counters and baggage storage are available.

Officials are expecting around 40 to 50 million visitors to Jewel during its first year, of which 60% are likely to be residents. In fact, Changi Airport is already a favourite haunt for many locals who would visit just to dine at its F&B outlets or simply hang out, even if they are not boarding a plane themselves or sending off/welcoming someone home. Now, outbound travellers could plan to arrive earlier to the airport and join the hordes of people who have been visiting this architectural icon since its preview on 11 April and taking the opportunity to post updates on social networking sites. This potential increase in foot traffic could draw more spend for Changi, especially from transit passengers who may not be able to venture further into the city but have a few hours to spare.

Overall, Singapore saw firm occupier demand from retailers in the first three months of 2019 on the expansion of existing brands and spinoffs of F&B brands from parent groups as well as increased demand from activity-based retailers. The latest figures on tourism receipts released by the tourism board signals a shift in expenditure towards experiences and sights that are unique to Singapore. On the back of a positive tourism outlook and sustained economic growth, occupier demand is expected to stay firm. Jewel is envisioned to be a destination where ‘the world meets Singapore and Singapore meets the world’, and it is hoped that the ‘unique proposition of world-class shopping and dining, seamlessly integrated with lush greenery, fulfils the needs of increasingly discerning travellers for a meaningful and experiential journey’. With an apparent strong turn-out so far, Jewel is likely to sparkle against the tropical sky of Singapore.


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