. MACEOS calls on government to ease event restrictions | Meetings & Conventions Asia

MACEOS calls on government to ease event restrictions

More than 5,600 job losses since March, equivalent to 17 per cent of the total industry workforce.

MACEOS president Francis Teo insists MICE SOPs can ensure the safe return of business events amid ongoing movement control order.
MACEOS president Francis Teo insists MICE SOPs can ensure the safe return of business events amid ongoing movement control order. Photo Credit:MACEOS

The Malaysian Association of Convention and Exhibition Organisers and Suppliers (MACEOS) has called upon the Malaysian Government to relax restrictions imposed on business events due to the ongoing Conditional Movement Control Order (CMCO).

“With MICE standard operating procedures (SOPs) already approved by the Malaysian National Security Council (NSC), business events should be allowed to continue to be organised, adjusting participant numbers according to alert levels and venue size," MACEOS president, Francis Teo said. "By allowing small groups to meet, the industry can maintain the minimum numbers needed to preserve and support the entire business events ecosystem.”

Following the government's July endorsement of new MICE SOPs, the country's domestic meetings and events was steadily recovering — until the CMCO was announced in mid-October after a spike in Covid-19 cases.

As a result, the livelihoods of many of the country's event professionals hang in the balance.

According to Teo, a recent survey of industry players revealed revenue losses of RM2.25 billion (US$0.54 billion) — marking a 90 per cent drop since the MCO was first introduced in March.

Cascading down the chain, 5,610 employees have since been laid off, equivalent to 17 per cent of the total industry workforce. While some businesses have pivoted to virtual and hybrid events, only 13 per cent said they were able to do so successfully.

Looking at the current situation, Teo believes full recovery of the business events industry is unlikely to happen before the third quarter of 2021.

“By allowing small groups to meet, the industry can maintain the minimum numbers needed to preserve and support the entire business events ecosystem. [Our industry] is...the fastest way for businesses to connect with each other and rebuild the economy again," Teo said.

"Guided by this [SOPs] framework, business events industry players are well-prepared, trained, and able to implement the standard operating procedures required to ensure a high level of safety at all our events. This is the assurance we want to convey to the government, our clients, our partners, and business events’ attendees."