Stepping stone to recovery

The TTLx Summit Tourism Edition 2022 in Kuching, Sarawak, was organised to help travel trade members kickstart recovery efforts post-lockdown

Event brief
The inaugural TTLx Summit Tourism Edition 2022 was an in-person tourism conference held in Sarawak’s state capital, Kuching. The two-day conference was specially targeted at the travel trade in Sarawak, for them to share about the challenges in the industry post-lockdown, as well as provide them with ideas and solutions that could improve their businesses.

Held at the Chemsain Auditorium, the homegrown event also included an academic element. University undergraduates studying tourism and hospitality were tasked with doing a presentation on industry-related research ideas, with an RM1,000 (US$214) award grant up for grabs.

This event was conceptualised by Place Borneo, a PCO headquartered in Kuching.

Event highlights
Aside from two keynote addresses, there were workshops, panel sessions, and networking events. Mona Abdul Manap, managing director, Place Borneo, told TTGmice that the “conference content was designed based on feedback from industry players in Sarawak”.

“Many knew that travellers would gravitate more towards online bookings and that it was imperative to have a digital presence, but they didn’t know how to go about it,” she stated.

That is how the digital marketing workshop session by Melvin Ong, CEO of Karuna (Sarawak) Enterprise came about, where Ong spoke about the importance of digital marketing and how to get started.

To further tap the Singapore market, which is important for tourism and trade for Malaysia and the region, Putrie Rozana, deputy CEO, Sarawak Trade and Tourism Office Singapore, was also present to share with attendees useful information on packaging products and services to meet the needs of Singaporeans.

There was also a very motivational session by Ruth Yong Wang Theen. Born prematurely without sight, Yong shared how her doctor told her parents that she would not live long. However, with her parents’ support, she overcame all odds and became successful in life. Today, she is gainfully employed with a talent sourcing company, and also volunteers as an online tutor for refugee and orphanage centres.

Yong was a living testimony that with the right attitude and mindset, a person could achieve what they had set out to do. Many in the audience were also moved by Yong’s presentation and wanted to contribute towards her community efforts.

Although this was planned as a hybrid event, with the opening of borders and gradual loosening of restrictions for gatherings, many attendees requested an in-person event instead.

This prompted a quick reassessment, and a decision was made for it to be fully in-person, to enable face-to-face networking. Mona also shared that with few virtual registrants, it was not financially viable for the event to be hybrid.

But because of this, some international speakers could not travel to Sarawak due to a reduced airlift, so Place Borneo had to look for new speakers located within Asia Pacific. This would help with budgeting costs, plus there were better air links.

Another challenge Mona shared, was the shortage of event suppliers. She had trouble looking for photographers, videographers and audiovisual suppliers as there were many other in-person corporate and governmental events happening in Kuching simultaneously.

Place Borneo also had to pay more for design and printing services to promote the conference as the printing company was stretched with other jobs.

Event TTLx Summit Edition 2022
Organiser Place Borneo
Venue Chemsain Kuching
Dates September 21-22, 2022
Attendance 150

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