Green and gorgeous

Singapore’s eco-friendly tourism pursuit is absolutely serious but hardly sombre judging by the many fun and thoughtful sustainable experiences in the city, discovers Serene Foo

The new profile of Mindful Explorers – defined as people who seek to contribute to regenerative and sustainable means of tourism – will find fulfilling days in Singapore. The destination has set off a tourism strategy that is resulting in holistic and sustainable visitor experiences across all aspects and touchpoints of the journey.

Cherie Lee, director, strategic planning and incentive policy, policy and planning group with the Singapore Tourism Board (STB), told TTG Asia that the country is transforming into a sustainable urban destination – a City in Nature, where large experiences come with small footprints.

South-east Asia’s first-ever gamified electric Go-Kart circuit, HyperDrive, will open its doors next year. Picture by Shangri-La Group

She explained: “This vision differentiates Singapore from other sustainable destinations, by making us a destination where it is fun to travel sustainably, and where post-pandemic travellers can rest and recharge with complete peace of mind.”

Indeed, from how they play and what they eat, to where they stay, eco-conscious travellers can go green all the way.

Minimal carbon footprint does not mean minimal fun, as HyperDrive is determined to show. Said to be South-east Asia’s first-ever gamified electric Go-Kart circuit, HyperDrive will open its doors next year to racing enthusiasts. Housed within Shangri-La Group’s first standalone lifestyle and entertainment precinct, Palawan Sands on Sentosa, the attraction spotlights an impressive eco-friendly fleet of electric karts. The zero-emission vehicles run smoothly and quietly without noise pollution.

Speed demons zipping around the three-level indoor track have the option to level up their racing experience with a “Game of Karts” that will transport them into the realm of virtual gaming.

Drivers can also turbo-charge their racing experience or sabotage competitors within an interactive experience heightened with light and sound effects, revealed a Shangri-La spokesperson.

Meanwhile, outdoorsy travellers will be heartened to know they are doing their part to protect wildlife every time they visit the parks at Mandai Wildlife Reserve. The reserve’s steward, Mandai Wildlife Group, commits a portion of its revenue to support conservation projects in Singapore and across South-east Asia.

Mandai Wildlife Group is also actively striving to further reduce absolute emissions to achieve its aim of becoming a carbon neutral precinct by 2024.

Visitors in awe of the Supertrees at Gardens by the Bay may be delighted to know that these mega structures are more than just photography landmarks. They act as air venting ducts for nearby conservatories, dispersing heat. Seven of the Supertrees are fitted with solar photovoltaic systems that convert sunlight into energy.

In fact, the popular horticultural attraction houses over 1.5 million plants in its gardens to help offset carbon dioxide in the city.

Supertrees at Gardens by the Bay are embedded with sustainable features, of which seven are solar photovoltaic systems

For more green draws, eco-conscious tourists can hop on the guided Pulau Ubin Island Bike Tour, where they will discover various flora and fauna across the rural island and learn about the mangrove ecosystem at Chek Jawa Wetlands – all that on a sustainable vehicle no less.

Sustainable tourism spills into arts spaces here in Singapore. When art aficionados visit the iconic lotus-shaped ArtScience Museum at Marina Bay Sands, they are supporting an environmentally-conscious infrastructure. The museum is the first in the Asia-Pacific to obtain the LEED Gold certification. Its key green features include infiltration of natural daylight into the interior and a Rain Oculus which recycles nearly 1.4 million litres of rainwater annually.

What is destination discovery without food? In Singapore, sustainable dining options can feed guilt-free indulgences.

Open Farm Community is Singapore’s pioneering urban farm and restaurant concept, Michelin-starred Labyrinth spotlights local produce, and Scaled by Ah Hua Kelong sources fresh seafood from local kelongs and farms.

Getting a tipple can quench green thirst too. At eco-friendly bar, Graft, a series of cocktails, beers and mocktails are on draft, allowing customers to pull by hand themselves and reduces the reliance on manpower.Drinks also come served in recycled sake, beer, and wine bottles.

Native cocktail spot takes on a zero-waste approach, deploying ants and fermented grasshoppers in its drink-making process.

At plant-based resto-bar, Analogue, guests can even shop for sustainable furniture.

With plenty of sustainable accommodation options in Singapore, Mindful Explorers can rest assured of a responsible stay. Many eco-conscious hotels are partially powered by solar energy, their single-use plastics replaced by reusuable alternatives, have food waste processes as well as energy-efficient systems.

For instance, Singapore’s first garden-in-a-hotel, Parkroyal Collection Marina Bay, Singapore, places travellers amid lush foliage that operates as natural purifiers and sinks for carbon dioxide. The eco-friendly hotel is home to one of the largest urban farms in the city-state, providing 20 per cent of the hotel’s food supply. With more than 60 varieties of vegetables, herbs, fruits and edible flowers, the urban farm forms the backbone of the hotel’s farm-to-table, farm-to-bar, and farm-to-spa concepts, reducing both the hotel’s dependence on the food supply chain and carbon footprint, according to general manager, Melvin Lim.

Gino Tan, country general manager, The Fullerton Hotels and Resorts, said the recently-revamped Fullerton Farm, located at The Fullerton Hotel Singapore, also features a wide variety of herbs and spices which are used by its chefs for creative dishes, cocktails and garnishes.

Hotel guests can savour a pure vegan menu – made from the farm’s fresh organic produce – by ordering the plant-based Afternoon Tea set, available at The Courtyard at The Fullerton Hotel Singapore as well as The Landing Point at The Fullerton Bay Hotel Singapore.

Sustainable stay experiences are increasingly extending beyond the hotel’s confines, through curated learning opportunities. Complimentary Fullerton Farm Tours, led by an experienced horticulturist, for example, invite hotel guests to learn about biodiversity.

Resorts World Sentosa’s new RWS EcoTrail provides guests a behind-the-scenes look at the integrated resort’s sustainability highlights, such as its 29,000m2 forest, solar photovoltaic system, and herb garden.

Parkroyal Collection Marina Bay, Singapore is now looking to extend its well-received guided tours to a wider audience, like corporate guests.

Lim said: “This would not only showcase the sustainability aspects of the hotel, but also reassure corporate organisations that their choice of accommodation supplier and event venue partner contributes to making their own value ecosystem a sustainable one.”

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