A dual proposition

BESarawak wants to attract more business events to the state by offering a legacy impact and better sustainability awareness.

Business Events Sarawak (BESarawak) has indicated that sustainability and legacy are key to driving its events strategy, while helping the state achieve its Post Covid-19 Development strategy (PCDS) 2030 for tourism.

Last November, association heads from Malaysia and Singapore, as well as local and regional business events industry players gathered in Kuching for the 3rd Business Events Tribal Meet.

Kuching is the largest city in Sarawak

At the gathering, Amelia Roziman, CEO, BESarawak, introduced a sustainability starter kit, a reference for stakeholders to make conscious decisions to reduce the negative impacts of their events.

Sustainability plans are in the first phase, which will run up to 2025 and include a planning and development phase where partnerships are forged, and strategies, policies and guidelines are created.

This will be followed by the second phase, which is the implementation of all initiatives and action points with stakeholders, as well as further fine-tuning the initiatives.

With these efforts, Amelia envisions that by 2030, organising sustainable events with legacy impact will be second nature to all stakeholders.

In all, BESarawak’s target is to attract 1,245 business events to the state by 2030.Last year, BESarawak attracted 94 business events, surpassing its target of 90 events. Of the 94 business events secured, 81 business events have been assessed with a total of 570 impacts on the sector, economy, environment and political governance.

In 2023, plans are in motion to also create a legacy and sustainable event centre to further BESarawak’s objectives of driving legacy impact and sustainability forward. Specific programmes and initiatives will be announced in due time.

Another industry initiative by BESarawak – in collaboration with International Congress and Convention Association – was the inaugural launch of the International Journal of Business Events and Legacies (IJBEL). The objective of the journal is to widen the knowledge capacity of the global industry, ranging from practitioners and researchers to consumers and policymakers, by addressing real-world issues on business meetings, tourism, and legacies.

The 3rd Business Events Tribal Meet in November 2022

The first issue of 11 papers provides insights and knowledge into how global business event players are evolving and what impacts have been found until now, shared Amelia.

The biannual journal is also the world’s first to merge business events and legacy topics under one title, and is also the first journal in South-east Asia specifically for business events.

IJBEL is crucial in helping the Sarawak government achieve several PCDS-related objectives, by targeting specific economic sectors and enablers. Firstly, under the PCDS enabler of Education & Human Capital, IJBEL will help to optimise Sarawak’s human capital and produce an agile workforce that can excel globally. This also includes promoting entrepreneurship.

Secondly, under the PCDS enabler of Innovation, the journal is leveraging research and commercialisation to drive global innovation.

Thirdly, under the PCDS enabler of Sustainable Development, research will be used to make economic activities more environmentally friendly, so much so that it achieves global recognition.

In the longer term, BESarawak plans to introduce training programmes for stakeholders, as well as certification programmes to further develop its sustainability initiatives.

Amelia shared: “Restaurants, DMCs and hotels all require different training and certification. We will be looking into this in 2023.”

A restaurant owner in Kuching, Penelope Ling, hopes that BESarawak will also conduct programmes for those in the food business on how to minimise food wastage and hold  workshops on recycling food waste in an environmentally-friendly manner.

Gracie Geikie, chair, Malaysian Association Of Convention & Exhibition Organisers & Suppliers, Sarawak region, pointed out that the need for workshops on creating and designing legacy impact for business events targeted at PCOs and PEOs were necessary, as “some people still think that a CSR programme is the same as a legacy impact”.

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