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SABAH INTERNATIONAL CONVENTION CENTRE Paving the way for a new MICE destination ..... Yayasan Sabah Group as it stands today has been a substantive part of the socio-economic development of Sabah. As part of its efforts to intensify the MICE activities, Yayasan Sabah Group has aggressively positioned itself as one of the organisers for international conferences. In 2005, Yayasan Sabah Group successfully organised the first International CEOs Conference (ICC2005) which drew more than 650 participants from 32 countries, including the United Kingdom, Australia, Africa and China. The ICC2005 has profiled Sabah as a viable destination for international conferences and investment hub. The ICC2005 created a rare occasion for many Sabahans to see CEOs, businessmen and politicians from overseas converging in Kota Kinabalu for a three-day conference. According to the Director of Yayasan Sabah cum Executive Chairman of ICSB, Tan Sri Datu Khalil bin Datu Haji Jamalul, the success of the ICC2005 has inspired the Group to host another international conference, the International Women Executive Congress in 2007 (IWEC2007). The IWEC2007 has managed to attract a distinguished panel of experts and outstanding speakers. Subsequently, the Group also organised the International CEOs Conference in 2008 followed by the Blue Ocean Strategy Conference in 2009, he said. The participation of international delegates and speakers itself is an endorsement of our ability to organise international conferences. Our commitment in organising international conferences is to ensure that guests leave with everlasting memories and the satisfaction of having attended a professionally managed event, he added.
Against this backdrop, Yayasan Sabah Group took the initiative to develop Sabahs first world class purpose-built international conference and event venue in Kota Kinabalu - the Sabah International Convention Centre (SICC). Overlooking the South China Sea and Tunku Abdul Rahman Park, the SICC enjoys a prestigious location with the majestic Mount Kinabalu on its eastern side and the sunset on its western side. Located strategically at the tail-end of the proposed Jesselton Waterfront Development, it is surrounded by the sea on both sides and the main road Jalan Fuad Stephens. The development area of the SICC is 15 acres or 60,703 m2. Being at the tail-end of the Jesselton Waterfront Development and at the fringe of Kota Kinabalu City has given the opportunity for the SICC to be located at a premier address. Tan Sri Khalil said, SICC is poised to be one of the highly specialised venues for conventions, trade shows, banquets and conferences. The multipurpose convention, exhibition and banquet facilities will be fully equipped with various high-tech facilities to ensure smooth and efficient running of MICE activities. event technology with It will employ the latest a capable team to handle every aspect of
event technical and production requirements. Its state of the art multipurpose exhibition and convention facilities, complete with world-class communications network and cutting-edge presentation technology ensures effective deliverance of information and communication, he elaborated. Equipped with nearly 1,000 parking bays, it comprises of a 5,000 seating capacity convention hall, exhibition hall, auditorium, ballroom, theatre, restaurants, shops, offices and meeting rooms. Designed to be2
ahead of its generation, the SICC will be a representation of the bestfeatured convention centre derived from the world's leading MICE venues. With the completion of these myriad of facilities, Sabah will be a major MICE destination. The SICC will provide a venue for MICE activities and the 'happening place' for concerts, summits, indoor games and music/film awards of an international standard. This is inline with the Prime Minister, Datuk Seri Panglima Mohd. Najib bin Tun Haji Razaks vision of developing Malaysia into a high-end tourist destination, said Tan Sri Khalil. In his keynote address at the opening of the Borneo Convention Centre, Kuching, Sarawak on 2 March 2010, the Prime Minister said, Malaysia has set a target to be among the top five Meetings, Incentives, Convention and Exhibition (MICE) destinations in the AsiaPacific region by 2015. Based on the International Congress and Convention Association (ICCA) Statistics Report 2011. Malaysia was ranked seven in the AsiaPacific and Middle East regions and twenty-nine in the world ranking. Malaysia has all the inherent ingredients to be successful, such as growing accessibility, competitive pricing, leading edge infrastructure, multicultural attraction and professional expertise. With the establishment of the Malaysia Convention and Exhibition Bureau (MyCEB) under Tourism Malaysia in 2009, the countrys ranking in the Asia-Pacific region could be improved. We are confident that with the combined efforts of all stakeholders led by MyCEB, our international
and regional rankings will improve further in the future, said Datuk Seri Panglima Mohd. Najib. Tan Sri Khalil further said, Sabah, a land that is characterised by both ethnic and cultural diversities where love and unity prevail has been undergoing rapid social and economic transformations. The policy adjustments undertaken by the Federal and State Government in response to the ever changing global economy have proven to be highly successful. This in turn has catapulted Sabah to enjoy comparatively high rates of economic growth and brought about confidence to local and foreign investors. According to him, today we see marked improvement in the transportation, communications, public utilities, housing and health services due the series of development plans implemented by both the State and Federal Government. Sabahs diverse ethnic races have contributed to many traditions and customs, however, these ethnic groups have been able to live together harmoniously and yet preserve their own identity, culture, customs, festivals and traditions. Although modernisation has changed the landscape of Sabah, the local festivals and historical customs have remained little changed and can still be experienced by visitors to Sabah. Moving forward, Sabah is blessed with natural diversity ranging from the towering mountain peaks to deep seas with crystal clear waters. With this unique environment backdrop, together with the current tourism-boom in Sabah, the State Government promulgated the idea of developing MICE activities in Sabah.
Through MICE activities, the various international events have paved the way for the convergence of the best minds from all over the world, as well as introduce Sabah as a land for investment opportunities and a venue for events organising. Indeed, the main selling point for Sabah as a MICE destination in this region is its wealth of eco-tourism hotspots which are currently being developed. With the development of the SICC, the true potential of eco-tourism activities plus a strategic niche market would equip Sabah as a MICE destination not only from this region but also globally, he said. Tan Sri Khalil praised the Federal and State Government for the strong backing towards the development of the SICC. The Federal and State Government are the backbone of the SICC development. The Federal Government has allocated a sum of RM250 million through the facilitation fund to finance the project infrastructures while the State Government has provided a 15-acre land for the project, he explained. SICC will be realised through smart partnership with interested investors. To sustain its businesses and gain worldwide exposure, the SICC will be managed by a reputable partner enriched with a worldwide network and superior global distribution. With strong backing from the government and established networks with prominent industry players, SICC is poised to provide thrills and excitements to top corporate executives globally to the many facets of Sabah, he added. Presently, Sabah is more on leisure tourism whereby tourists would have to spend their own money. On the same note, for international5
tourists, especially on a business trip, their stays are very short but for MICE tourism, it has been proven to bring in high value to tourism products with the same number of tourists because of the pre and post events. Tan Sri Khalil explained, with the multiplying effect created by MICE activities through SICC, it would further benefit and widen Sabah's economy. It will have ripple effects and a major spin-offs boost to the hotel, food, shopping, transportation, property and service industries. With SICC, Sabah is poised to become the venue for top global CEOs to congregate, this augurs well for Sabahs economy as they are part of our potential investors and business partners in undertaking megaprojects in the future, he said. Further to that, SICC would be the catalyst for further development in the State and would be complemented by modern infrastructures that indirectly propel the States entire tourism industry up in the value chain. The development of SICC will also help Sabah to tap the full advantage of its strategic location and be an important business player in the BIMP-EAGA region, he added. According to him, SICC is a new catalyst for the state tourism industry as it would be able to transform Sabahs economy from a resource based economy to knowledge and information based economy. SICC will also empower the society, bridge the income gap, reduces socioeconomic imbalance and enhance the quality of life of the people, he said. To a question, why Yayasan Sabah Group? Tan Sri Khalil explained Yayasan Sabah Group has long been known as a financial provider.6
Through its educational programme, many students were able to further their study and contributed meaningfully to Sabah. However, Yayasan Sabah Groups role has always in been in producing brain and stop short in creating employm