Saturday, 4 September 2010
Sunset Fair Opening in Dili, Timor-Leste: September 11th 2010
National Director of Tourism Jose Quintas announced on Thursday (August 9th) that the Ministry of Tourism, Commerce and Industry is organizing a weekly Sunset Fair to be held every evening throughout the dry season at Kristu Rei beach. The event launch on Saturday, September 11th, 2010, will feature Timorese and international entertainers, food stalls serving dishes from all over the world and a market for local handicrafts. Guests at the launch – which is open to the public - will include several hundred Tour de Timor participants, members of the diplomatic community and government officials.
The inspiration for the Dili Sunset Fair was drawn from a recent visit to the highly successful Mindil Beach Markets in Darwin by the Minister of Tourism, Commerce and Industry, Mr Gil Alves, who was impressed with the range of local and international products on sale and the large numbers of visitors to the event, which has become one of Darwin’s leading tourism attractions and a major contributor to the economy of the Northern Territory.
“I thought to myself, ‘we could do something like this in Dili’. We have the products, we have the location, we have the talent and we are keen to expand the range of experiences that Timor-Leste can offer to tourists, as well as the market for our local handicrafts”, Alves said.
The Sunset Fair location at Kristu Rei has recently been renovated by the Timor-Leste Ministry of Tourism, Commerce and Industry.
“This is a fantastic use of this purpose-built tourism facility,” Quintas said, “There is a performance arena, plenty of parking and space for up to 50 stalls. It is right beside one of our country’s most beautiful white sand beaches, with spectacular views of the sunset and it is surrounded by a nature reserve. I am sure that the Sunset Fair will be a great addition to our night life in Dili and will be popular with both foreign and local tourists, especially families”.
The Mindil Beach Sunset Market Association Inc will be signing a Memorandum of Understanding with the Directorate of Tourism, to share their expertise with their Timorese counterparts in launching and developing the Sunset Fair. MBSMA General Manager, Kylie McCourt, who paid a visit to to Dili recently to discuss the agreement, said that the technical support being offered to the Sunset Fair organisers would extend to advice, training, cross-promotion and regular exchanges of traders and entertainers between the two events.
“I believe that Mindil Markets’ relationship with the Sunset Fair will be a two-way street,” McCourt said, “One of our aims is to promote the sharing of cultural community and we are looking forward to developing long-term ties with our friends in Dili, so that we can learn more about what Timor-Leste has to offer in terms of products and cultural experiences, to the benefit of both parties. We would love to see some Timorese traders and visitors over here at Mindil”.
A delegation from the MBSMA will be travelling to Timor-Leste to participate in the September 11th inauguration of the Sunset Fair, which is expected to run every Wednesday evening throughout the dry season, from October 6th until December 15th 2010.
Sunset Fair will be offering a wide range of local and international culinary specialities as well as traditional weavings, carvings and other typical local handicrafts and products. Timorese entertainers will include Boy Clemens, who recently recorded a song about the Sunset Fair beach, entitled “Areia Branca”, which he will be performing at the opening event. His album, “Forca de Amor” will also be on sale. The Sunset Fair will allocate a proportion of its stalls to international traders, as it aims to offer a multi-cultural experience to visitors and to extend the creativity of Timorese business in developing new products.
As space at the Kristu Rei is limited, businesses wishing to participate in the Sunset Fair will be chosen according to strict criteria designed to promote the project’s core values of Diversity, Creativity and Quality. One of the reasons for the success of the Mindil Markets is that no two stalls can offer exactly the same merchandise or dishes, a rule that will also be applied to the Sunset Fair in Dili.
“My advice for Sunset Fair participants is to specialize: select your best products, focus on them and do not attempt to sell the whole range of items available in your main business. In this way, the Sunset Fair will serve as a “shop window” to promote your company’s activity and increase day-to-day trade,“ Quintas explained. In the case of National traders, precedence will be given to those offering items produced from Timorese materials, using Timorese labour and representing Timorese culture. A limited number of spaces will be allocated to international traders offering products not available in Timor-Leste, especially innovative or technological items or hand-crafted merchandise reflecting the creativity and culture of the producer (fashion, art, jewellery, etc.). Any stall – National or International - offering products suitable for children will be favoured in the selection process.
The Sunset Fair will also offer a regular opportunity to Timorese entertainers to gain experience in performing in public and to promote their music. They will be allowed to sell their CDs at the event. “We encourage all performers who are seeking an audience to register their interest with us so that we can draw up a schedule of entertainers to last the whole Sunset Fair season,” said Quintas, “This is also a chance for youth and church groups to get valuable exposure and to raise funds for charity”.
Applicants must submit their requests to Mr Antonio Da Silva, tel: 7410185 or go directly to the National Directorate of Tourism, Rua Dom Aleixo Corte-Real, Fomento, Mandarin. The deadline for application for the October 6-December 15, 2010 Sunset Fair season is: Tuesday, September 14th. Applications received after this date may be put on a waiting list.
Participants must commit to operating their stall every Wednesday evening from 5pm-10pm for the full market season. The government will provide electricity, water and a basic stall structure to participants, but they must supply any other equipment they need, such as tables and extra lighting, themselves. Stalls at the September 11th Sunset Fair Inauguration event are free of charge, but traders must pay a fee ($50 per stall) to register for the full season (from Oct. 6th-Dec. 15th 2010) in cash once their application has been approved and their Sunset Fair Trader pass has been issued. A copy of a current business registration must be attached to the Sunset Fair application form. No refund will be given in case of withdrawal and 2-weeks’ notice is required to cease trading. Full criteria for stallholders can be viewed here and you can join our Facebook group here and follow us on Twitter @SunsetFair.