Malaysia puts up a good fight for MICE business

From collaboration to business event support, Industry stakeholders leave no stone unturned in a bid to sharpen the country's competitive edge.

MYCEB works closely with industry players to strengthen bidding efforts to attract more international events.
MYCEB works closely with industry players to strengthen bidding efforts to attract more international events. Photo Credit: GettyImages/Alex Cheong

In the wake of its MICE industry's recovery, Malaysia’s government, associations and industry players are teaming up to support the needs and long-term goals of international organisers and planners. The collaborations, spanning various issues, ranging from incentive support, safety certifications, enhanced accessibility to sustainability programmes, are resulting in a win-win for the industry's stakeholders.

Growing roster of events

Malaysia's MICE industry is gaining momentum for a positive line-up of 123 events secured from 2022 to 2030.

Abdul Khani Daud, CEO of Malaysia Convention and Exhibition Bureau (MyCEB), says: “The total number of delegates from these events are expected to be around 177,000 and will contribute around RM1.4 billion (US$318 million) in estimated economic impact.”

By 2030, business events are expected to attract 5.9 million delegates, contributing to RM42.1 billion (US$9.5 billion) in estimated economic impact, according to MyCEB CEO Abdul Khani Daud.
By 2030, business events are expected to attract 5.9 million delegates, contributing to RM42.1 billion (US$9.5 billion) in estimated economic impact, according to MyCEB CEO Abdul Khani Daud.

MyCEB launched the Meet in Malaysia campaign, one of its programmes providing support to local industry players. Hotels such as Shangri-La Kuala Lumpur also work closely with MyCEB to help planners maximise all available support through the Meet in Malaysia campaign. “We have received enquiries from Singapore, India, Middle East, the UK and the US for groups,” said Cheryl Loo, director of commercial sales, Shangri-La Kuala Lumpur.

She added that RFPs have come in from sectors such as oil & gas, pharmaceutical and the government. “We have received more queries for in-person events going up to 400 pax per group and for two to three nights. We’ve also noticed a preference for seating capacity with social distancing as well as dedicated internet services for heightened security,” said Loo.

Loo shared that the hotel’s 1,509 sqm grand ballroom and foyer with 15 breakout rooms are able to provide a spacious venue planners to spread out the flow of events. Additionally, its dual lobby and private entrance facilitates better direction of visitor flow, especially for high-profile attendees and VIPs.

The power of collective efforts

For Francis Teo, president of Malaysian Association of Convention & Exhibition and Suppliers (MACEOS), recovery required a united front to promote travel-safe destinations in the country. The formation of Travel Safe Alliance Malaysia (TSAM) in October last year saw MACEOS, Malaysian Association of Hotels, Malaysian Association of Tour and Travel Agents, and airlines under the Malaysia Aviation Group coming together.

TSAM was pivotal in boosting economic recovery and upholding hygiene standards across hotels, food establishments, convention centres, tours, and transportation.

Moving forward, Teo emphasised the need to collaborate as a single ASEAN region to highlight collective strengths and reinforce reinforce international planners' level of trust and confidence.

Abdul from MyCEB stressed it was important to strengthen working relationships with other business event bureaus and associations. He added that MyCEB has recently joined 21 other cities under the Hybrid City Alliance, and together with Thailand, Taiwan and South Korea, have formed the Asia Convention Alliance.

Watch out for stiffer competition

For exhibition and convention venues such as Kuala Lumpur Convention Centre (KLCC), the road to recovery is a tough and competitive one. Alan Pryor, general manager of KLCC, said that Malaysia needs to set itself apart in the face of stiff competition and that there is a need for the industry to “further develop its capacity to match international standards and invest in promoting and marketing the attractiveness of the destination to the global world”.

Pryor emphasises close engagement with local associations to secure interest and support in bids for international exhibitions and conferences.

"We already have policies and programmes in place to manage waste generated from different aspects of events," says Alan Pryor, KLCC general manager, of the venue's sustainability events guidelines.
"We already have policies and programmes in place to manage waste generated from different aspects of events," says Alan Pryor, KLCC general manager, of the venue's sustainability events guidelines.

International planners are also prioritising business relationships with industry partners that operate with sustainability as a corporate value, he said. KLCC, which recently signed a Sustainable Development Goals MoU with Urbanice Malaysia, sets the precedence with the first-ever public-private sector partnership in sustainability.

“Our recent collaboration with Urbanice Malaysia will see us developing sustainable business events guidelines, to guide planners and organisers in designing low-waste events,” shares Pryor.



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