KL’s grand makeoverCategory: Country report
Issues: Dec 2011/Jan 2012
View of KLCC with the Petronas Twin Towers in the background
Major works to make Kuala Lumpur one of the best cities to live in will
also turn it into a more attractive business event destination, reports N.Nithiyananthan
The Malaysian government’s aim to make Kuala Lumpur one the world’s top 20 most liveable cities, as well as achieve a top 20 economic growth rate by 2020, is expected to generate tangible benefits for the MICE sector.
Referred to as the Greater Kuala Lumpur Plan (GKL), it involves a planned investment of RM204 billion (US$65 billion). The GKL is one of the 12 national key economic areas under the government’s 2010 economic transformation programme, which aims to shape the nation into a high-income economy by 2020.
The GKL has nine entry point projects (EPPs), and three of them are said to provide immense benefits and opportunities for the destination’s MICE industry, according to the Malaysia Convention and Exhibition Bureau (MyCEB).
The three pro-MICE EPPs are: developing an integrated urban rail system; establishing world class attractions and iconic places; and developing overhead pedestrian walkways to link major places of interests and hotels around the city.
MyCEB general manager-sales and marketing, Ho Yoke Ping, said: “From now until 2020, the business events industry will be further supported by new facilities and infrastructure that offer international and regional associations and meeting planners more venue options in Kuala Lumpur.”
But there is no need to wait till 2020 to reap the benefits of the GKL development programme. The Kuala Lumpur Convention Centre (KLCC) has already benefitted from the partial completion of the city’s new overhead pedestrian walkways.
The first section of the covered walkways opened in February 2011. The 142m elevated, air-conditioned pedestrian walkway connects the KLCC to Impiana KLCC Hotel.
Alan Mark Pryor, KLCC deputy general manager, said: “We believe the proximity and ease of travel between the two points have contributed positively to the property’s occupancy numbers.
“In the long term, the walkways, slated for completion in 2014, will link the centre to major places of interest and other strategic locations, and provide convenience and flexibility for delegates and visitors to travel between hotels and shopping destinations.”
MyCEB’s Ho also highlighted the development of the integrated mass rapid transit system as an extension of the light rapid transit in Kuala Lumpur.
“When combined with the pedestrian walkways in Kuala Lumpur, these will further improve connectivity and accessibility for conference delegates in the city,” she said.
|“(The new walkways and rail transit) will help Kuala Lumpur compete against other cities such as Bangkok and Singapore...and mitigate carbon emissions from hosting international events.”Amos Wong
AOS Convention & Events
AOS Conventions & Events managing director, Amos Wong, is certain that the walkways and rail transit will provide more than mere commuting convenience.
“They will help Kuala Lumpur compete against other cities such as Bangkok and Singapore. It will give us a continued competitive edge and mitigate carbon emissions from hosting international events,” he said.
Complementing these infrastructure upgrades are several ongoing hotel developments across the capital city.
“The KLCC will benefit from the upcoming 450-room Grand Hyatt Kuala Lumpur Hotel (opening in 2012) and Impiana KLCC Hotel’s phase two expansion project, which includes adding 180 rooms to the existing 322 units. The new 540-key Doubletree by Hilton, Kuala Lumpur also offers future conference delegates more accommodation choices,” Pryor said.
MyCEB’s Ho added that the Kuala Lumpur would also welcome a St. Regis property in 2014 and a W hotel in 2016.
“These will grow the overall meeting spaces and options in Kuala Lumpur and Malaysia for MICE planners, and further enhance the country’s capacity and appeal in attracting larger-scale international and regional business events,” she said.
Other developments in the pipeline include the proposed 93,000m2 MATRADE Centre, noted MyCEB.
However, AOS’ Wong said these handware enhancements must be matched by heightened publicity. “There should be more publicity on these developments and the cost benefits (of taking an event to Kuala Lumpur). There should also be active participation by MyCEB in leading trade shows relating to the association meetings industry,” he said.