AACVB reboot to focus on research, spearheaded by Malaysia

Previous iterations of the association of Asian convention bureaus were disbanded due to inaction, but Covid-19 has sparked a fresh attempt to get it right.

The focus for AACVB this time around will be on research responding to the new process to revive the organisation.
The focus for AACVB this time around will be on research responding to the new process to revive the organisation. Photo Credit: MyCEB

After some years of dormancy, the Malaysia Convention & Exhibition Bureau (MyCEB) is spearheading an attempt to revive the Asian Association of Convention and Visitor Bureaus (AACVB).

The association was first formed in Manila in 1983 with its headquarters situated in Macau for almost 30 years. After falling silent, several attempts were made to revive the association, including an annual 'Asia for Asia Summit' in Bangkok that was last held in 2014.


Another period of inactivity followed and the association was practically disbanded in 2019, but M&C Asia understands that MyCEB CEO Dato’ Sri Abdul Khani Daud is looking to formally register the association in Malaysia.


With the support of members — convention bureaus in China, Hong Kong, Macao, South Korea, the Philippines, Thailand and Singapore — a new AACVB will shift its rationale away from regional promotion and instead focus on  research.


“It’s focus, as agreed by members, is initially on research and will later be expanded into other areas as the need arises," said Abdul Khani. "We want to know more about opportunities and forward booking patterns to further assist member bureaus to create their own marketing strategies and programmes.”


He added that before any research is conducted, member bureaus will collectively approve any sharing of data or information required. Members have also agreed to establish a head office in Malaysia with MyCEB hosting the office within its premises.


In the wake of Covid-19, Abdul Khani said the focus for all CVBs should be on collaboration and bringing more business to the region rather than competition.


Thailand Convention & Exhibition Bureau senior vice president business, Nichapa Yoswee, has said previously that AACVB should encourage knowledge sharing to improve event guidelines and policy regulations, thus improving the ease of doing business across the region. Abdul Khani agrees, saying it would would benefit the entire MICE supply chain.


As to suggestions for an impartial individual to lead AACVB, Abdul Khani said they will stick to the formula of member countries rotating the leadership every two years. Once the association is registered, an AGM will be called.


A new way forward for bureaus?


Following the recent success of Malaysia Business Week (MBEW) 2020, Abdul Khani plans to expand the model to an international audience, and offers food for thought to other CVBs looking to reconnect with international event planners.


“We need to have a circuit of events that we ‘own’. All the international events like ITB are owned by others. We should have Malaysian events that can also be ‘exported’ to the world. Sports could be one of those events.”


MBEW 2020 was a start, said Abdul Khani, to help local stakeholders regain confidence. Along with a re-energised communications strategy, MyCEB is also planning a roadshow across the country to spur the domestic market and encourage more industry partners to participate in the Meet in Malaysia campaign and create more business opportunities.


“We also need to upgrade MyCEB and are looking at upscaling our website to make it more interactive and user-friendly and compatible with new tech. Many events do submissions without our knowledge, so we need to create a database to capture complete data. We also need to sustain ourselves and beef-up our marcom efforts.”


He added that MyCEB is aware that the industry needs government support to offset the increased cost of running events (up by approximately 30 per cent) due to Covid-19 health and safety measures. The bureau is offering subsidies for MICE events until 2021, and recently lowered the qualifying number from 50 to 30 participants.