Attraction Or Distraction?

Changi International Airport in Singapore is not making it easy for other airports around the world to compete with them for the enviable number one position. Voted the leading airport for seven years running, it is by far the most prestigious and exciting airport to visit.  Last month they raised the bar again with the opening of a new wing called “Jewel.” This recent introduction of their latest attraction will more than likely help them cop the top spot for a few more years to come.  Is this latest stimulus an attraction or distraction?  Let us consider.

The making of Jewell cost the Singaporeans a whopping $1.3 billion.  Shaped like a donut, the lifestyle hub is located close to terminal one.  It took more than four years to build and holds amazing gardens, trails, a rain forest, mall, luxury stores, a multi-screen Imax theater, supermarket, hotel, restaurants and a rain vortex.  This tunnel-like waterfall feature is smack-dab in the middle of the dome.  All these offerings are available 24-7.  Sounds like a lot to cover on foot in a short time?  No worries.  You can catch the skytram that weaves its way throughout the new indoor wonder.

It has only been two years since I visited Singapore and experienced the attractions of Changi and already my visit is dated.  Back then I found the airport huge to cover, and makes a layover of eight hours look like child’s play if you want to enjoy its attractions.  It also makes me wonder as an itinerary planner, if this will be the new trend in upgrades as other airports vie to be the best in class and category.  Will airport planners encourage more futuristic designs and exhibitions with the intention to attract more and more tourist?  Should I recommend airport attractions as a consideration for visitors to do when traveling?  Should this new phenomenon be cast as an adventure of its own or only for those who have long layovers?  Should vacationers be encouraged to take time from their holiday to explore the airport if it has interesting attractions?  Would the possibility of exploring cause the not too careful traveler to inadvertently miss their departing flight?  These questions are just a few of the many questions I have.

The Singapore government designed the new facility not only for globe trotters, but for the residents too, and expects approximately 50 – 60 million people to visit the site this year.  There is a likelihood then that the volume of expected pedestrians may slow viewing or cause long lines to board the tram; however, vacationers may access kiosks available throughout the dome for easy and early check-in.  If you are anything like me, you would want to see it all, and may be tempted to walk every inch of the dome which sits on 1.46 million square feet, is 10 stories tall – five stories below ground and five above.  The spanking new allurement is not finished.  A recreational facility that includes a fascinating glass bottom bridge, canopy park, topiaries, slides, a maze and more will open in June.  All these fun and exciting activities, not to mention the jacuzzi and pool on the roof top are things the delayed visitor can do to pass the time.

Community Peeps, I have never thought to encourage or recommend spending a day at the airport.  It has always been the feeling that most travelers want to get in and out of the airport as fast as they can.  However, times are changing, and it seems like airports are swiftly becoming places of adventure and activity.  What is your take on this new development?  Do you like the prospect that you can enjoy much more than just merely sitting at the gate, browsing a store or eating at a fast food restaurant?  Share your thoughts with the rest of us in the comment box below.  If you have any plans to visit or pass through Singapore, will you opt for a longer layover?  This is all interesting to know and I would love to hear from you on the matter.  Please don’t hesitate to share your thoughts on whether you think it is an attraction or distraction.

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More times,

Itinerary Planner



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