It was a night to remember. Key industry partners as well as guests from the public and private sectors had gathered on Siloso Beach to celebrate Sentosa's Golden Jubilee on 2 September.
In attendance at the private beach dinner by the shores of Shangri-La Rasa Sentosa were Singapore President Halimah Yacob; Minister for Trade and Industry Gan Kim Yong; Minister for Social and Family Development and Second Minister for Health Masagos Zulkifli; alongside Sentosa Development Corporation (SDC) chairman Bob Tan; and SDC chief executive Thien Kwee Eng.
A toast to 50 brighter years to come
From left: Travel Weekly Asia's Jake Mak; Sentosa Development Corporation's Fabian Lim; and Travel Weekly Asia's Cheryl Teo.
SDC’s Bob Tan and Thien Kwee Eng lauded the efforts of Sentosa’s past and current employees for the success of the island destination over the last 50 years.
“What will the next 50 years be? What is going to make Sentosa uniquely special in the mindset of tourists from overseas as well as Singaporeans?” Tan asked hypothetically. “What we need to do is to galvanise all our island partners together, and make this space into ONE Sentosa, and offer guests the experience in its entirety.”
Tan was alluding to all of Sentosa’s stakeholders standing together to present an all-encompassing experience for tourists, instead of standing alone as a singular hotel, restaurant or attraction. This has already been in the works and going strong, recently with stakeholders coming together to make Sentosa the first island destination in Asia to be recognised by the Global Sustainable Tourism Council, along with implementing the island-wide installation of solar panels.
Looking ahead, Thien ticked off the number of exciting developments Sentosa has in store for its guests, including the Central Beach Bazaar; Sentosa musical fountain; a stand-alone lifestyle and entertainment precinct at Palawan Beach with the first electric go-kart; Raffles Sentosa Resort & Spa, Singapore’s only all-villa resort featuring 62 villas; and Sentosa Sensoryscape, a multi-sensory pathway linking Resorts World Sentosa to all the island’s beaches.
Spreading love and light across Singapore
Together with SDC, Singapore President Halimah Yacob inserted the last item into the time capsule, a commemorative book entitled 'Fifty Views on Fifty Years'. Photo Credit: Sentosa Development Corporation
President Halimah did the honour of placing the last symbolic item into Sentosa’s time capsule and sealing it for the next 50 years. She also received a S$3,908,888.88 (US$2,782,503.46) cheque from SDC chairman Tan for the purpose of funding agencies under the President's Challenge, as well as more than 100 social service agencies and 200 critical programmes that aid children with special needs, youths-at-risk, adults with disabilities, persons with mental health conditions and seniors and families in need of assistance.
“Sentosa holds a special place in Singaporeans’ memories, and it is heartening to see how Sentosa and SDC have grown alongside Singaporeans over the past 50 years. It is befitting that SDC has made giving back to the community an integral part of its Golden Jubilee celebrations,” said president Halimah.
“The funds raised through the Sentosa Golden Jubilee Charity Golf will go a long way in helping benefitting agencies supported by the President’s Challenge and Community Chest. As we celebrate Sentosa’s history, I wish SDC continued success in creating more unique and innovative experiences for all Singaporeans to enjoy.”
The festivities started off with a bang, as a troop of drum performers sounded the start of the celebrations.
Besides the official sealing of Sentosa’s time capsule, guests were treated to a sumptuous seafood dinner, a drum performance, and music from a live band. The night culminated in a drone show comprising hundreds of drones illuminating the inky night sky to depict various images that portray Sentosa’s dramatic transformation over the five decades.