Imagine you were on board an Arabia-bound cargo ship in the Strait of Malacca 1,000 years ago. Hit by a tropical typhoon, the ship rolls from side to side and starts to sink as the lights dim, and when they finally come back on, you find yourself on the seabed in the depths of the ocean, surrounded by shipwrecks and marine life.
This is an experience the Maritime Xperiential Museum at Resorts World Sentosa in Singapore promises when it opens later this year.
Like the resort's Universal Studios, the museum will be available for private functions after normal opening hours, which the resort believes will have a strong appeal to meetings, incentives, conventions and exhibitions (MICE) groups looking for something different.
Paul Stocker, vice-president for MICE sales and event services, says the resort had not previously targeted the corporate market, but with the opening of new attractions it will direct its efforts towards attracting more MICE and corporate visitors.
'Attractions such as the museum will help grow the resort's corporate presence in Singapore and around the region because they offer an experience that cannot be found anywhere else,' he says.
'The resort provides an environment not available at any downtown hotels, yet it is only 10 minutes by car from the city and 25 minutes from Changi Airport.'
The museum will hold up to 1,000 people for MICE events. Groups can use a stage for corporate events, and there is also an outdoor covered area with capacity for standing receptions of 800 to 1,000 people overlooking the harbour and the city skyline. There are also retail, and food and beverage facilities at the museum.
Universal Studios plans to have a grand opening later this month, having attracted a number of MICE groups with its seven different themes since March 2010. Stocker says: 'We can tailor-make food and cuisines to match each theme, such as hot dogs and pizzas for a street party in New York, or Mediterranean cuisine for an ancient Egypt theme.'
This year will also see the opening of two new hotels, Equarius Hotel and Spa Villas, which will bring the resort's room count to 16,000 in six hotels that can meet the need of any large MICE groups.
Next year will see the opening of the Marine Life Park, offering MICE visitors activities such as interaction with reef fish and swimming with dolphins.
MICE facilities at Resorts World Sentosa include one of Southeast Asia's largest, column-free ballrooms (the 6,000-square-metre Compass Ballroom), 26 function rooms and more than 20 indoor and outdoor event venues. It can host more than 35,000 delegates at any one time.
Last year, the resort hosted 700 MICE events, with groups coming from industries such as car manufacturing, finance, insurance and multilevel marketing around the world.
One of the biggest groups was the Singapore Youth Olympic Games Organising Committee, which entertained its 20,000 volunteers.
Stocker expects this year to be a strong one for MICE business, with the economic rebound and strong visitor arrivals in Singapore.