Tourism and business event leaders in the Malaysian state of Sarawak have set in motion efforts to cultivate a crop of homegrown business events that will bring about cumulative benefits to related businesses and the wider community.
Brought to you by Business Events Sarawak
Against a backdrop of a global business events industry disruption, Sarawakâ€™s industry stakeholders have persevered in maintaining the destinationâ€™s presence in the mind of event owners and planners. Business Events Sarawakâ€™s (BESarawak) most prominent move last year was to speak to the hearts of industry partners through the Business Events Build Stronger Communities campaign, which sought to spread messages of hope and positivity across the stricken industry. Through this campaign, yet another was borne â€“ Tribe Legacy Sarawak and the related hashtag #TRIBESPIRIT spun out to bring industry players together.
Positive branding was paired with subvention and other necessary support to enable the development of in-person and hybrid events in a challenging landscape. Three incentive packages were offered for events of varying sizes as well as inaugural editions.
These efforts are paying off, with the Malaysian state raking in 95 confirmed business events in 2020 â€“ an undeniably challenging year for the travel, tourism and business events industry. Most of these events are set to take place from 4Q2021, and are estimated to attract at least RM112.9 million (US$27.6 million) in direct delegate expenditure, RM12.5 million in tax revenue, and create approximately 16,346 jobs in Sarawak.
Big picture developments
BESarawak has mapped out seven strategies that will guide the business events community out of the current crisis and into a brighter future. These include intensified destination marketing; domestic and international business development; capacity building; destination development; industry digitalisation; fortified stakeholder collaboration; and increased financial support for business events.
Support never ends
Maintaining its collaborative stance to ensure a strong recovery for the stateâ€™s business events industry, BESarawak has devised programmes to provide event planners with extra support, future-proof local industry partners, and align business event goals with government aspirations.
A highlight this year is the roll-out of incentive packages in March to ease event execution in a post-pandemic environment. Building multisensory delegate experiences as well as health and safety measures into programmes of tomorrow will be a breeze with new financial support.
The two-pronged Tribe Homegrown Incentivised Package is designed to support Sarawak-based associations and corporate organisations, and cultivate a crop of quality home-grown business events.
The Convention Category, a collaboration between the Ministry of Tourism, Arts & Culture Sarawak and BESarawak, works to advance the local tourism, arts and culture scene through home-grown association meetings. On the other hand, the Corporate Meetings & Corporate Incentives Category is designed to encourage corporate organisations and destination management companies, travel agents and incentive houses, among other subsectors, to organise and host business events.
Further assistance from BESarawak will come in the form of the Tribe Collaborate Incentivised Package to help Sarawak-based industry partners boost their event advertising, marketing and promotional activities and to leverage digital marketing solutions.
A health and safety promise
Understanding that health and safety are more than ever a priority for everyone, Sarawak has enforced strict measures at every event, such as compulsory temperature checks, visitor check-ins, food safety measures, reduced visitor touch points, and daily surface cleaning. On its part, BESarawak provides Delegate Wellness Packs as an additional form of health and safety assurance for in-person attendees.
Powering up a talented support structure
Sarawakâ€™s successful move towards the future of digital events is facilitated by a proactive community of industry partners who are fast to adapt and apply event technology into hybrid event models. Many have also committed to fortifying their skillsets and elevate the promise of professional guidance for clients.
Altogether, these new initiatives will set Sarawak on course to achieving her 2021 target of 60 secured business events that will drive RM179.2 million in total economic impact and generate 14,224 new job placements.
Benefits of these events could be extended with the help of the Business Events Sarawak Legacy Initiative, a critical tool recognised and supported by the International Congress & Convention Association for establishing a lasting positive impact on the business events industry and society at large.