SINGAPORE (The Straits Times/Asia News Network): Work to construct Minion Land, a new attraction at Universal Studios Singapore (USS) that is part of moves to revive tourism here, began on Thursday (May 26).
The upcoming themed zone at USS, inspired by the Despicable Me film franchise, is set to open in 2024, and is part of the Republic's post-pandemic tourism recovery plans. It will take over the former Madagascar zone.
Alvin Tan, Minister of State for Trade and Industry, and Culture, Community and Youth, attended the groundbreaking event on Thursday.
In a speech, he said: "Before Covid-19, we had about four million visitors per year (to USS) and I'm hopeful - and very optimistic that with the easing of restrictions and opening of travel in earnest - that we will see more people coming in to Sentosa, Universal Studios and Minion Land when we open in 2024."
The new zone will comprise multiple rides, including one that will be a world first and exclusive to USS. Details on the ride have not been announced.
It will also house Despicable Me Minion Mayhem, an immersive motion-simulator 3D ride. The ride is also available at Universal Studios' locations in Florida, Hollywood, Japan and Beijing.
The zone will have restaurants and themed shops, with Minion-themed food items and merchandise.
Construction of Minion Land will be done in line with sustainability efforts laid out by the Sustainable Sentosa road map launched last year. Its goal is to eventually bring the island's emissions of planet-warming greenhouse gases down to net zero by 2030.
"With Minion Land, we aim to attain the zero-energy building certification from the Building and Construction Authority when it opens," said Tan Hee Teck, chief executive of Resorts World Sentosa (RWS).
"(It) will then be the first attraction in Singapore, and possibly in this region, to be powered by renewable energy."
Besides being part of Singapore's tourism revival efforts, Minion Land is also part of the first phase of a $4.5 billion mega expansion of RWS by Genting Singapore.
The first-phase expansion includes rebranding the SEA Aquarium as the Singapore Oceanarium, which will be three times the size of the current aquarium.
RWS will also refurbish the Resorts World Convention Centre, as well as three hotels - Hard Rock Hotel Singapore, Hotel Michael and Festive Hotel - in phases from the second quarter of this year through to 2023.