No better time than now

The destination is raring to go as its business events centre continues to mature with an alliance to oil the planning gears, and a robust track record for hosting large-scale meetings.

Kuala Lumpur

Malaysia is shaping up to be a frontrunner in the business events race in Asia. In 1H2017, it gained an edge in the form of a business events alliance, as well as won hosting rights for three major international business events, which are expected to amount collectively to an economic impact of RM32.7 million (US$7.61 million).

The three winning bids are for the World Tunnel Congress 2020 in conjunction with the 46th International Tunneling and Underground Space Association general assembly (1,500 pax); the 17th World Congress for Endoscopic Surgery of the Skull Base and Brain 2020 (900 pax); and the Congress of the International Board on Books for Young People 2022 (800 pax).

Zulkefli Sharif, CEO, Malaysia Convention & Exhibition Bureau (MyCEB), said: “These (conferences) augur well for the continued dynamic growth of the business events industry in Malaysia. It brings the country’s business events calendar forward by delivering a business conference that is progressive and at the cutting edge of innovation and business networking.”

Recently, the country hosted five international conferences and exhibitions, expected to generate an estimated economic impact of RM46.9 million with around 6,000 delegates, he added.

Alan Pryor, general manager at Kuala Lumpur Convention Centre, said competition to be the leading business events destination in Asia is stiff, with contenders counting Hong Kong, Singapore, Taiwan, South Korea and China.

In order to reinforce the attractiveness of the capital city and Malaysia, Kuala Lumpur Convention Centre in July established the Kuala Lumpur Convention Centre Business Events Alliance (KLCC BEA) in partnership with key business events players and stakeholders in the Kuala Lumpur City Centre precinct.

Pryor said the KLCC BEA is a collective consisting of the convention centre, hotels, professional event planners, shopping, dining, entertainment and transportation partners.

“The alliance presents a compelling business events offering that provides a single point of first contact for meeting planners and event organisers. A private sector initiative, the KLCC BEA allows us to market the fully-integrated city centre offering and create an all-inclusive proposition for meetings and events from a venue, planner, accommodation and entertainment perspective.”

In 1H2017, the convention centre attracted over 670,000 delegates and visitors and delivered an economic impact of over RM182 million. This was an increase of 194 events and 110,000 delegates and visitors, compared to the corresponding period last year.
More is falling in place, as the Indian origin market, including its business events segment, now benefits from visa relaxation. Earlier this year, the Malaysian government launched a multiple-entry visa for Indian tourists, waived the visa fee of Rs1,000 (US$15.60) and reduced the visa processing fee from Rs5,500 to Rs1,600.

Luxury Tours Malaysia senior manager, Arokia Das, shared: “Prior to the introduction of the multiple-entry visa, Indian organisers used to fly to Bali on Malindo Air and transited in Kula Lumpur.

“Since the visa was introduced, we’ve (gotten) business from a few Indian MICE organisers who opted for a one- or two-night post conference tour in Kuala Lumpur.”
As well, MyCEB is continuing its efforts in China with an annual in-market roadshow. This year, it accompanied 26 industry partners to four key cities – namely Beijing, Shanghai, Chengdu and Guangzhou. The Chinese business events segment emerged as the top source market for Malaysia, contributing RM436 million in economic impact.

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