The business events fraternity in Malaysia is thrilled to receive news that the country’s borders will reopen on April 1, 2022.
Mohmed Razip Hasan, director-general, Islamic Tourism Centre (ITC), told TTGmice: “The reopening is timely as we have planned several international conferences on Islamic Tourism including World Islamic Tourism Conference and Islamic Tourism Outlook Conference.”
This means that the events can now be organised on a “larger scale”, and ITC’s events can now invite “international speakers and delegates to attend in-person”, Mohmed enthused.
He added that this in turn, would bring in foreign expenditure, where “the multiplier effects of business travel will add economic value” to the accommodation, F&B, transportation, and entertainment sectors.
Yeoh Soon Hin, Penang state executive councillor for tourism and creative economy, is optimistic about the reopening, but cautioned that the tourism and business events industry will not “instantly recover” as Malaysia is still dealing with a surge in daily cases due to the Omicron variant.
A day after Malaysian prime minister Ismail Sabri Yaakob announced the reopening date, Penang Convention & Exhibition Bureau (PCEB) also launched its BElong campaign in Kuala Lumpur. The campaign sends the message that Penang is open for business, and increase destination confidence through the various health and safety measures in place.
Since the announcement, Zahira Tahir, founder and CEO, Universal Holidays Travel and Tourism, shared that her company has already received seven enquiries for corporate meetings and incentives from countries such as India and Pakistan, where interest was in Kuala Lumpur, Langkawi, and Resorts World Genting.
“Corporate companies see Malaysia as a value for money destination, and the fact that no quarantine is required upon arrival, is a bonus,” she said.
Zahira added that part of her company’s marketing activities will include attending the upcoming Arabian Travel Mart and South Asia’s travel and Tourism Exchange, both held in May.
As for Mint Leong, managing director of Sunflower Holidays, she is hoping to draw small incentive groups from Singapore and Indonesia as her key inbound incentive market, China, is not yet open.
However, one key challenge is that airline services have not resumed as pre-Covid and airfares are still generally high, which is why she is targeting small, high-end incentives.