Wildlife ex­pe­ri­ences in Sin­ga­pore

An un­likely can­di­date for MICE, Wildlife Re­serves Sin­ga­pore is in­tro­duc­ing new prod­ucts that can of­fer small MICE groups an ex­clu­sive ex­pe­ri­ence at four of its at­trac­tions, namely Jurong Bird Park, Night Sa­fari, River Sa­fari and the Sin­ga­pore Zoo

Micetalk - - Incentives - Hazel Jain

In­dian MICE groups can now ex­plore an en­tirely new way to con­duct their events in Sin­ga­pore. The four well-known at­trac­tions in the city – Jurong Bird Park, Night Sa­fari, River Sa­fari and Sin­ga­pore Zoo – are a hit with fam­i­lies. But did you know that they also of­fer MICE fa­cil­i­ties, lim­ited but ex­clu­sive ex­pe­ri­ences for small groups.

Mike Bar­clay, Group CEO, Wildlife Re­serve Sanc­tu­ary (WRS), who was in Mum­bai re­cently to host a din­ner and cock­tail event for its top part­ners in In­dia and to sign an MoU with Thomas Cook, had many an­nounce­ments to make. He said, “We have as­so­ci­ated with Thomas Cook In­dia to of­fer their cus­tomers our world-class zoo­log­i­cal parks. These parks can of­fer amaz­ing wildlife ex­pe­ri­ences to ex­clu­sive MICE groups.

Cur­rently, the traf­fic com­ing into our parks is a lot of groups and fam­i­lies, but some MICE ac­tiv­i­ties as well. MICE can be done in many ways here. It can be part of an ex­pe­ri­ence or an ex­clu­sive visit. We also have some rather spe­cial venues for the MICE mar­ket.” One of them is lo­cated in the heart of the

Night Sa­fari which has a beau­ti­ful te­pee tent that serves de­li­cious, three-course, high-end meal for a group of up to 45-50 guests. They can have their own pri­vate tour and have a great din­ner. WRS can or­gan­ise such quiet, ver­sa­tile ex­pe­ri­ences for MICE groups.


WRS is pre­par­ing to launch a world-class walk­ing trail called ‘Lu­mina' by mid­dle of 2018 that will of­fer MICE groups an ex­pe­ri­en­tial jour­ney for visi­tors, com­bin­ing sound, lights and na­ture. This tech­nol­ogy is be­ing brought in from Canada. This will be a night show in Sin­ga­pore Zoo. Bar­clay says, “Nor­mally, we have three day-time zoos, which are com­pletely quiet at night. Only night sa­faris op­er­ate in the evenings. From July 2018, we will op­er­ate the Sin­ga­pore Zoo at night with an in­ter­ac­tive dig­i­tal light ex­pe­ri­ence called ‘Lu­mina'.”

The ter­rain and the en­vi­ron­ment of Sin­ga­pore Zoo is per­fect for the Lu­mina light show. He ex­plains that the show re­sponds to move­ment and is in­ter­ac­tive. With this, WRS can put to­gether a tour for MICE groups where they can ex­pe­ri­ence the new Lu­mina show in the early evening, go on for din­ner, and then visit the Night Sa­fari. This makes a com­plete evening prod­uct.


WRS does lim­ited camp­ing ac­tiv­i­ties at the mo­ment. But Bar­clay has ex­cit­ing up­dates. “We will soon ex­pand our camp­ing fa­cil­i­ties. We will have camp­ing at dif­fer­ent venues such as open-air un­der the stars and camp­ing in some key ex­hibit ar­eas that are air-con­di­tioned. Our camp­ing is more fo­cused on school groups at the mo­ment. But we are tran­si­tion­ing to a pro­fes­sional camp­ing team within the com­pany and of­fer camp­ing ex­pe­ri­ences to adults and groups. We are just be­gin­ning to talk to travel agents about this. We will also have new camp­ing fa­cil­i­ties in the Bird Park by 2020,” Bar­clay re­veals. It will also have more camp­ing op­tions with fixed tents.


In­dia is the num­ber one mar­ket for WRS glob­ally. So it makes sense for them to tweak and ad­just prod­ucts as per the de­mands and pref­er­ences of In­dian visi­tors. He adds, “We have tweaked our prod­ucts for the In­dian mar­ket. In the night sa­fari, we have a tram ride where we now have Hindi as a lan­guage op­tion as of last year. We have also opened an In­dian res­tau­rant at Jurong Bird Park about six months ago called Curry Gar­den, which is work­ing well for groups. More­over, at the Night Sa­fari we have in­tro­duced In­dian snacks apart from an In­dian buf­fet for our In­dia visi­tors. We also talk­ing to Thomas Cook on how we can make food one of the key high­lights for our pack­ages.”


Not sat­is­fied with lim­ited camp­ing op­tions, WRS has made plans to open an on­site 400-key re­sort by Banyan Tree Hold­ings in a trop­i­cal set­ting in the rain for­est. Phase one will be done by 2020

and the en­tire project will be de­liv­ered by 2023. It will of­fer a range of room types – from af­ford­able fam­ily rooms to ex­clu­sive rooms and cot­tages. “We are cur­rently work­ing with Banyan Tree Hold­ings on the de­sign. It will be a com­plete eco ex­pe­ri­ence for the guest. With this prod­uct, our part­ner agents are con­fi­dent that this would in­crease the to­tal room nights spent in Sin­ga­pore from four to about six to eight nights. We also ex­pect In­dian trav­ellers to have an overnight or a two-night stay at Mandai,” Bar­clay says.


This is part of WRS' re­mod­el­ing plan of the en­tire Mandai area. This in­cludes a brand new bird park that is be­ing built right now, and a new rain­for­est park which will be a first-in-the-world prod­uct. It will be deep in the rain­for­est with an­i­mals around. “So this will be the only place in the world where you can visit five zoo­log­i­cal parks in one lo­ca­tion. We re­ally think we will have the scale to en­cour­age peo­ple to stay back for two to three days. In the mean­time, we con­tinue to evolve our ex­ist­ing parks and look to en­hance and im­prove them every year,” Bar­clay adds. So in the Sin­ga­pore Zoo this year, WRS has put to­gether a com­pletely new rep­tile house called RepTopia which ex­hibits 60 rep­tile species. The fun that WRS has put chil­dren's play el­e­ments all around it which is ed­u­ca­tional and has a dig­i­tal over­lay. For ex­am­ple, one of the dig­i­tal el­e­ments is a pro­jec­tion of a suit­case in which the chil­dren have to iden­tify il­le­gal wildlife trade items.


The four wildlife parks have hosted quite a num­ber of MICE groups in the past. “The chal­lenge we have is the ca­pac­ity. We work bet­ter with smaller, in­ti­mate MICE groups that want an ex­clu­sive ex­pe­ri­ence like at the te­pee tent, a spe­cial Gourmet Sa­fari Ex­press in the Night Sa­fari where up to 70 pax can have a spe­cial din­ner while they en­joy the sa­fari. This is a real ‘wow' ex­pe­ri­ence. The zoo is typ­i­cally closed at night. But we have hosted spe­cial MICE groups go­ing into the zoo at night. We have an air-con­di­tioned area where we or­gan­ise din­ners for them. But we can cater to big groups who are stay­ing else­where and want an evening out ei­ther at the Bird Park or the zoo or the night sa­fari. With the right plan­ning, we can make an ex­clu­sive show even for big groups that will fit as well. We can build in all these el­e­ments to work around the needs for MICE,” Bar­clay adds.


Fall­ing asleep to the songs of the crick­ets un­der a sky of bril­liant twin­kling stars or snug­gling in sleep­ing bags next to the tran­quil wa­ters where a peace­ful herd of man­a­tees live, these were what close to 200 campers ex­pe­ri­enced over the week­end in the heart of Mandai for the in­au­gu­ral Camp Fest which spanned across Night Sa­fari, River Sa­fari, and Sin­ga­pore Zoo. Bar­clay, Group CEO of Mandai Park Hold­ings, the hold­ing com­pany of Wildlife Re­serves Sin­ga­pore, said “We hope more campers are able to join us in this unique camp­ing ex­pe­ri­ence.” The new Bird Park, Rain­for­est Park and other of­fer­ings at Mandai will be un­veiled for visi­tors from 2020 on­wards.

From top left: Bar­clay feed­ing a Rhino

Above right: Campers pre­par­ing en­rich­ment for the man­a­tees, a bot­tom feeder, dur­ing the Ama­zon Flooded For­est be­hind-thescenes tour

Above: Campers were chal­lenged to gen­tly touch in­ver­te­brates like the twig in­sect dur­ing a be­hindthe-scenes tour of Frag­ile For­est

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