With business events finally allowed to resume in Malaysia, Sarawak has moved swiftly to launch various support packages to encourage local planners to hold more homegrown events.
"Sarawakian organisers are important. Over the years for the convention and exhibitions segments, we have seen local business events grow into internationally recognised events that attracts people and attention worldwide," said Datuk Abdul Karim Hamzah, Sarawak’s minister of Tourism, Arts and Culture and minister of Youth and Sports.
Despite the pandemic, Sarawak managed to secure 95 business events last year, all set to take place from Q4 2021, and the destination is eyeing more.
"The bid wins surpassed the initial target by 106% which is great news. Having said that, national and international in-person events will not take place any time soon; which is why we need to put our current emphasis on hybrid and local business events first to help the business events industry restart and recover during this difficult time."
During a hybrid meeting at Borneo Convention Centre Kuching on 3 March, the minister unveiled new incentive packages by the destination's convention bureau, Business Events Sarawak (BESarawak).
Meant for Sarawak-based associations and corporate organisations, the Tribe Homegrown Package provides support for conventions, corporate meetings and incentive programmes, and is in addition to financial support announced in late 2020.
"This is our way of encouraging and supporting more local planners to plan homegrown business events... [and] providing industry support before the borders reopen," Hamzah said.
And for planners who might still need a leg up in getting word for their events out, a new Tribe Collaborate Incentivised Package provides advertising, marketing and promotional support, especially on the digital front.
“Solid marketing and promotions will make a positive impact on Sarawak’s business lead generation efforts,” said BESarawak’s acting CEO, Amelia Roziman. She added that the business events industry's total economic impact for 2021 is set at RM 179.2 million, and a target of 60 secured business events.
Also at the event, BESarawak showcased the destination's "new normal" operating standards, and outlined its new destination marketing strategy. This includes domestic and international business development, capacity building, industry digitalisation and fortified stakeholder collaboration.
"With so much potential from our destination and a grant available, this is your chance to make something remarkable happen," Hamzah urged.
"Our visitor and delegate arrivals inevitably stooped to an all-time low in the last year, but Sarawak will recover and regain its competitive edge again."