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The Scuttlebutt Series: Straco Corporation Ltd’s Singapore Flyer

I recently visited the Singapore Flyer that is owned by Straco Corporation Ltd (SGX: S85) to perform scuttlebutt. Straco acquired the iconic attraction in August 2014.

Here are some things that I experienced during my visit to the Flyer on a weekday afternoon:

1. It was not easy getting to the observation wheel from the nearest Mass Rapid Transit (MRT) station. The Flyer’s website says, “The Promenade Station (Circle Line, CC4) provides you with a fuss-free, mere five-minute walk to Singapore Flyer.” But, it was certainly not fuss-free under the hot sun. The walk also took more than five minutes due to the traffic lights. It would be useful if Straco provided free shuttle bus services from the nearest MRT station, hotels, and shopping centres, to improve the attraction’s accessibility.

2. Furthermore, the buses that call near the Singapore Flyer (the bus-stop before Temasek Avenue) start their services from Marina Centre Bus Terminal (one stop before Singapore Flyer’s) and are not on the general route that the public can take. The most convenient place that the public can get down, if they take the buses, is at or near Pan Pacific Hotel, a 10-minute walk to the Flyer.

3. Located in a strategic spot at Level 1 of the Singapore Flyer is Singapore Food Treats, a food centre. However, it was disappointing to see only five of the 15 stalls open for business. Most of the stalls looked like they are shuttered for good until new tenants come.

4. Straco runs a 180-seater Chinese restaurant, Sky View Pavilion, which is located at Level 1. At 1 pm, around 12 diners were there having their lunch. One of the staff said that the restaurant is usually crowded on the weekends and during dinner time.

5. The restaurant has been rated 4.0 stars on TripAdvisor and 4.5 stars on its Facebook page. A review by The Straits Times gave it 11 out of 15 points and declared that its “[i]mpeccable cooking makes it a hidden gem”.

6. There was a group of around 15 Indian tourists entering the ticketed area of the attraction when I was there. Other than that, there were not many people queuing to get onto the Flyer.

The observation wheel has amassed 4.5 stars on TripAdvisor and has received rave reviews. It is also ranked eighth out of 826 things to do in Singapore. Over at Facebook, the Flyer is rated 4.4 stars. Around 68% of the reviewers gave it a full five points.

Upon reading through the reviews on TripAdvisor, I realised that some patrons visited the attraction a few weeks ago as their Singapore Grand Prix Formula 1 passes either gave them free or discounted entry to the Flyer. With the race being extended for another four years, more visitors could visit the Flyer during the F1 season if the arrangement between the various stakeholders is intact.

The inaccessibility of the Singapore Flyer from its nearest MRT was a downer for me. If there were free shuttle services, more working adults may also be inclined to visit the attraction for lunch at the food centre. This should add vibrancy to the place, with the interaction of tourists and locals.

I also feel that Straco could do more to revitalise the attraction, especially the food court. The company mentioned in its 2016 full year earnings that better revenue was achieved by the Flyer compared to 2015. But if more is done, shareholders could see more growth to Straco’s top and bottom line.

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The information provided is for general information purposes only and is not intended to be personalised investment or financial advice. The Motley Fool Singapore has recommended shares of Straco Corporation Ltd. Motley Fool Singapore contributor Sudhan P owns shares of Straco Corporation Ltd.