back to article With limited space for tourist attractions, Singapore bets on augmented reality

Singapore attracts millions of tourists every year, but lags well behind competing Asian destinations like Malaysia, Indonesia or Japan. Part of the problem is limited space available to build tourist attractions – the whole country is on an island. So the Singapore Tourism Board has turned to creating digital experiences to …

  1. Pascal Monett Silver badge

    Okay, not going to knock it

    Maybe, just maybe, this is the kind of thing that can, in the long run, make VR an interesting thing for Joe User.

    But I'm not holding my breath.

    Besides, if it's available in VR, why should I need to take a plane ?

    1. JT_3K

      Re: Okay, not going to knock it

      I thought the article was fairly clear: the idea isn't pure VR, it's AR. The WW2 plan is to take an ex-military tourist location and create a corresponding map in Unity. Through use of the Google API mentioned in the article, being able to map the location and angle of the user on to the Unity map and as such place the player in a 3D augmented tourist-location. When teamed with some fuzzy-logic NPC characters and vehicles, key areas of the "map" can be marked for various achievements and similar to allow a unique experience.

      I commend it as an approach. Can you imagine school children on trips to the WWI Western Front being able to AR an (obviously sanitised) view of the trenches, militaria and perhaps even the "Christmas truce football match"? Or visitors to the Black Country Living museum or Beamish seeing people going about their day and interacting with specialist NPCs, carefully acted by people coached on dialect, posture, clothing, etc.

      1. Michael Wojcik Silver badge

        Re: Okay, not going to knock it

        I can imagine school children on trips using their imagination, and not needing to have every goddamn thing handed to them on a platter.

  2. Dan 55 Silver badge

    File under pointless planet-burning nonsense

    Seems like the temperature's got to go up a few more degrees to concentrate minds.

  3. jmch Silver badge


    Singapore, as rightly stated, is a relatively tiny and highly overpopulated island. Why, then, would tourism ie attracting large numbers of other people, be an economic priority for them? Why not just accept the fact that not many tourists are going to visit and focus on financial services and maritime??

    1. Michael Wojcik Silver badge

      Re: Tourism???

      Agreed. Wikipedia says the permanent population is around 5 1/2 million, so if "millions of tourists" are visiting each year, that's a significant portion of the population. Why cram more in? (Yes, the tourists are not all there at the same time. It's still a measure of "tourism density". Indonesia has 50x the population and 2600x the area; it's hardly surprising it also sees more tourists.)

      Of course, the problem with having a Tourism Board is that attracting more tourists is pretty much their reason for existing. So that's what they'll do, whether it makes sense or not.

  4. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Bored walk...

    Singapore have just announced they are going to close their racecourse, and I guess most of that space will go for more housing. I don't know about attracting visitors, maybe the Singapore government need to think about providing entertainment for residents.

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: Bored walk...

      Speaking as a very occasional Singapore tourist, I would go there for the food courts, preferably the older ones which are sadly gradually being replaced by new sterile looking ones. The various temples are worth a look, and there are a couple of museums which are OK. For the record, I've been there 3 times and have yet to visit the Sentosa tourist trap. Maybe next time...

      I wouldn't want to live there though, because as far as I can tell, the work/life balance is appalling for Singaporeans. (6/7 day working weeks are commonplace and you don't get much annual leave.)

  5. xyz Silver badge

    God, I just love the place...

    I love the huge mix of people, ideas, tastes, chats, equality, politeness and everything. The 13 hour flight is a bit of a PITA though, so VR would be so cool. Imagine tour guides with cameras on just walking the streets so you don't have to. Think of the cash they'd make streaming VR "walks" around the place.

    1. John Brown (no body) Silver badge

      Re: God, I just love the place...

      I really don't know why you got so many downvotes. There are many, many people will never have the time or money to visit all of the worlds tourist spots and might just jump at the chance for a tour in VR instead of watching travelogues on the TV. Even better if it can be more of a virtual world they are free to move about in rather than being "taken" to. It might even be the "killer app" of VR since a few well made VR worlds/tours can be marketed world wide. Of course, this relies on VR becoming accessible, comfortable to wear and the lag leading to motion sickness and/or disorientation being properly overcome.

      1. Dave314159ggggdffsdds Silver badge

        Re: God, I just love the place...

        I imagine he got the downvotes for the insane Singaporean government propaganda he posted, not for anything about VR. It's a racist, fascist state built on exploitation of near-slaves, and he was pretending it has 'equality'.

  6. Binraider Silver badge

    Universal Singapore is pretty impressive and large for somewhere with no land...

    But that was no doubt a multi-bn dollar project.

  7. Zippy´s Sausage Factory

    I think I've just come up with their new tourism slogan:

    Singapore: no room for any tourist activies, plz play Pokemon Go instead. Kthxbai

    Nailed it.

  8. Dave314159ggggdffsdds Silver badge

    Ironic, since Singapore's official statistics have been 'augmented reality' for decades. No idea why this fascist hellhole gets so much positive coverage.

  9. Howard Sway Silver badge

    projects cartoon musicians onto Singapore's Victoria concert hall when viewed through a phone

    Well personally, that's not really going to make me choose it as a long distance holiday destination above things like the Pyramids, Himalayas, etc : people want lifelong memories from trips like these, and that just sounds like a really boring novelty.

    Also, with the technology used, why should I have to go to Singapore if I wanted to see the amazing AR cartoon musicians? Surely they'd work just as well on the side of a local waste disposal plant or bus depot?

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