Sarawak's business events and tourism industry became the first in Malaysia to initiate the Industrial Covid-19 Vaccination Centre.
Currently, Sarawak has the highest number of vaccinations administered in the country, with more than one million people vaccinated. This heightens the prospects of Sarawak loosening travel restrictions for the purpose of hosting regional business events before end of the year.
More than 2,000 industry frontliners voluntarily registered for the Industrial Vaccination Programme through their respective employers. The programme ran from 24-27 June 2021 at the Association of Churches Sarawak.
"The ministry is committed to do what is necessary to support agencies such as Business Events Sarawak with the reopening of the business events industry. The vaccination programme is accelerating the industry's recovery so that when our sky reopens, Sarawak is more than ready for business," Hii Chang Kee, Permanent Secretary to the Ministry of Tourism, Arts and Culture Sarawak, stated.
Sarawak's Minister of Tourism, Arts and Culture/Minister of Youth and Sports, Datuk Abdul Karim Rahman Hamzah, said that the Sarawak Government recognises that the business events and tourism industry is one of the state's core economic sectors.
"The vaccination programme by the Ministry of Tourism, Arts & Culture Sarawak is an imperative step to successfully protect over 2,000 industry frontliners, [and] a reassuring sign that Sarawak will be ready to reopen for business activities once more.
"Vaccinating the industry is in tandem with the Sarawak Government's target to vaccinate at least 80% of the local population by the end of August," he continued.
Despite the effects of Covid, work continues in Sarawak's MICE sector to prepare for the return of events. Amelia Roziman, Acting CEO of Business Events Sarawak (BESarawak), shared: "When events return to our shores, we will have the SOPs ready for implementation and business events planners can take advantage of our incentivised packages. Even our industry partners are gearing up by getting involved in extensive education programmes to strengthen their professionalism."
Roziman added that discussions are underway between BESarawak and the Malaysia Convention and Exhibition Bureau (MyCEB) to forge a possible interstate collaboration in an effort to reopen the country's business events industry.
The latest industry vaccination drive was led by the Ministry of Tourism, Arts and Culture Sarawak (MTAC) in collaboration with the Ministry of Tourism, Arts and Culture Malaysia (MOTAC), Sarawak Tourism Federation (STF), Ministry of Health of Malaysia (Kementerian Kesihatan Malaysia) and Timberland Medical Centre.