30 April 2017
So, what’s special about Orchard Road?
That’s the question many have been asking recently about how to restore Singapore’s premier shopping district back to its glory days when it was a must-visit place for tourists and locals alike.
The latest proposal floated by Trade and Industry Minister S. Iswaran is to turn it into a pedestrian-only mall, restricting motor vehicles so that more street-level activities can be held.
It’s not a bad idea, but there is a deeper underlying problem that needs to be tackled first.
Singapore has lost its appeal as a shopping destination, both for tourists and Singaporeans. It used to be Asia’s shopping paradise, with low prices, abundant variety and lots of shoppers.
However, Singapore is now a high-cost place in the two areas that affect retail prices most – rentals and wages.
Shopping worldwide has changed dramatically over the last 10 years and Singapore risks being left behind the dozens of other shopping paradises that have appeared in the real and virtual world.
… Han Fook Kwang is a senior fellow at the S. Rajaratnam School of International Studies, Nanyang Technological University.
RSIS / Online / Print
Last updated on 03/05/2017