March 1, 2023
SINGAPORE – Lazarus Island is now a step closer to being transformed into an eco-tourist destination, with the launch of low-carbon “tiny houses” for travellers to stay the night.
Known as Tiny Away Escape @ Lazarus Island, the five units will be launched this April, marking the first accommodation built on the island for short-term stay. Each unit comes equipped with green features and measures about 150 sq ft – half the size of a standard hotel room.
This is part of a series of initiatives by Sentosa Development Corporation to transform the island into a “light touch” destination over the next three years for visitors to experience its rustic charm while minimising their impact on the environment, Minister of State for Trade and Industry Alvin Tan told Parliament on Tuesday.
To help visitors to reduce their carbon footprint, the tiny houses are powered mainly by solar, built from sustainable building materials such as recycled plastic and wood fibre, and has a biodigester that converts food from waste to compost on-site within 24 hours.
Other new amenities and activities, which include a convenience store, overnight glamping experiences and non-motorised water activities, will be launched in phases by around June.
The move comes as Singapore has been certified as a sustainable destination based on the Global Sustainable Tourism Council’s Destination Criteria, which reflects the Republic’s efforts and commitment in becoming a sustainable urban destination by 2030, said Mr Tan.
“We expect international visitor arrivals to return to pre-pandemic levels of about 19 million as early as 2024,” he added, noting that the Government’s continued investment in sustainable tourism will allow tourism businesses here to thrive.
As Singapore transitions to a low-carbon future, more support will also be given to small and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs) to help them reduce their carbon footprint and improve their sustainability reporting, Mr Tan said.
These include courses to help SMEs decarbonise and better manage their carbon footprint, as well as workshops, programmes and playbooks on sustainability reporting under the Enterprise Sustainability Programme, which was launched in 2021. Enterprise Singapore will also be working with the Accounting and Corporate Regulatory Authority and industry partners to develop programmes to help enterprises embark on sustainability reporting, said Mr Tan.
The agency said the initiative seeks to address the challenges faced by SMEs, including limited resources and a lack of understanding in sustainability reporting framework and requirements.
At the same time, a new Green Skills Committee will be set up by the Ministry of Trade and Industry and SkillsFuture Singapore to provide training for workers to ensure they have the know-how required for a green economy, said Minister for Trade and Industry Gan Kim Yong on Tuesday.
“For a start, we will focus on immediate needs such as training workers to conduct sustainability reporting, and equipping them with the skills to operate in new growth areas in the energy sector, such as in renewable energy and energy storage systems,” he said.
“We will continue to work closely with the industry to identify new demand areas for green skills as this platform grows.”