SINGAPORE: Twenty-five tourism, culture, and city leaders from Indianapolis, Indiana, are on a US$85,000 (S$115,000) “international mission” to Singapore, seeking inspiration from the iconic Gardens by the Bay for some redevelopment ideas. The team seeks inspiration to redevelop the White River in downtown Indianapolis. It will learn how Singapore first cleaned up and then transformed its waterfront area into one of its most notable landmarks.
“We landed on Singapore because its US$1 billion investment in Gardens by the Bay specifically has driven tourism and enhanced the quality of life and economic development,” Chris Gahl, the Executive Vice President and Chief Marketing Officer of Visit Indy, the tourism non-profit leading the Nov 14 to 17 trip, is quoted as saying.
Gardens by the Bay, which opened in 2012, has been visited by over 87 million visitors—drawing over 8 million last year alone. Prime Minister Lee Hsien Loong first announced the 101-hectare area at the National Day Rally in 2005, with the grand plan to transform its “Garden City” into a “City in a Garden.”
The Indy Star reported recently that the group visiting Singapore has looked into transforming the White River for the past three years. They’ll meet with tourism officials, water sustainability experts, and others involved with Gardens by the Bay’s development during the visit to Singapore. They will also go on tours and visit several spots along the waterfront.
“We want to learn from their best practices, and the timing of this trip is ideal because it comes at a time when the GM stamping plant site is being redeveloped, the river is being cleaned up and you have the city investing in unique projects like Riverside Park. All of these pieces are falling into place, so from a tourism perspective we feel like this is the best time to carry this momentum forward and take this delegation to be inspired and get informed,” Mr Gahl said in the Indianapolis Business Journal (IBJ) earlier this month.
Before going to Singapore, the team went on study missions exploring waterside developments in several places in the United States, but its trip to Singapore was its first international one. Mr Gahl added that the international trip would give the team a “different perspective.”
“In three years of researching global cities to be inspired by and learn from, our research kept coming back to Singapore as a best practice destination, which has quickly and authentically created tasteful, meaningful designs that have driven tourism and enhanced the quality of life for its residents,” he told IBJ.
“While it is a long haul, we strongly believe that is the best example in the world of producing a tourism [return on investment] from a water source. Just because we are tucked away in the Midwest and are humble by nature doesn’t preclude us as a city, or as a destination, from being inspired and putting bolder projects into place.”