As more and more countries ease travel restrictions, MICE recovery is building momentum. In Europe and the US, face-to-face business events have already made a marked return with planners reporting a strong demand for in-person meetings, and Asia is poised to follow suit.
While the health and safety of event delegates remains a priority, the secret to successful in-person meetings in the post-pandemic era, according to Francis Teo, Head of Convention Centres at S P Setia in Malaysia, will be the ease of logistics and attention to detail.
S P Setia owns and manages Setia City Convention Centre (SCCC) in Selangor and Setia SPICE Convention Centre in Penang, the world's first hybrid solar-powered events venue. Despite the hardship of the last two years, the company continues to invest in venues, affirming its commitment to the safe return of face-to-face events.
“Both our venues pay attention to the details that really matter when it comes to the safety of organisers and delegates,” Teo said. “Yes, we are certified as a SafeBE site by Bureau Veritas and our staff are trained to carry out safety protocols during events as well as handle any emergencies that may occur.
“But what’s really important is that we have upgraded our ventilation system to provide indoor venues with clean, purified air as well as a range of outdoor spaces so planners don’t have to worry about safety measures, and delegates can focus on business opportunities. It is safe to attend events in Malaysia, and it is definitely time to resume planning,” he stressed.
Effective 1st May, fully-vaccinated travellers can enjoy quarantine-free entry into Malaysia and pre-arrival testing and covid-19 insurance requirements has also been removed, With these relaxation of SOP, venues are gearing up for a surge in face-to-face events. In fact, according to Malaysia Convention & Exhibition Bureau (MyCEB) has recently announced that more than 130 international meetings have already been secured for the country from 2022 to 2030.
Along with travel restrictions, capacity limits on meetings in Malaysia were also lifted on 1 April. However, S P Setia’s venues continue to implement health and safety protocols, such as regular staff testing, and have invested in industry-leading air purification systems to restore planner confidence.
Flexible spaces for a seamless in-person meetings
With a 4,000sqm pillarless Grand ballroom, 13 function rooms, and a sprawling rooftop garden that’s connected via covered walkway to SPICE Arena indoor stadium — with 10,000 seating capacity and another seven function rooms — there’s plenty of room at Setia SPICE for planners to effectively manage safe in-person meetings. Meanwhile, as Malaysia’s first Green Building Index certified venue, SCCC features several scenic lawns and more than 9,400sqm of event space, including three pillarless ballrooms, eight function rooms and two exhibition halls.
Event logistics will be further eased with new accommodation options set to open in the coming months.
Amari, SPICE hotel Penang will open in September, with direct access to the Setia SPICE Convention Centre. The hotel’s 453 rooms will complement the destination with five-star services such as the market-inspired Amaya Food Gallery, Breeze Spa, Sky Bar, Infinity Pool and Pool Bar and fully a equipped gym.
In Selangor, the new Courtyard by Marriott Setia Alam is projected to open in August, with 225 rooms and suites right next to Setia City Convention Centre. A range of dining options and recreational facilities (including a sun deck) will allow meeting and event delegates to seamlessly transition between work and play.
“The entire industry is now in ‘reset mode’,” Teo said. “As a venue, we’ve learnt a lot from the pandemic. We have fortified our safety measures and improved our service offering, and after a two-year hiatus, we’re more convinced than ever of the power of face-to-face connections. All players across the industry supply chain now need to do their part to ease the pain points of post-pandemic business travel and meetings.”
S P Setia has joined other industry players and MICE associations in Malaysia to form the Travel Safe Alliance Malaysia (TSAM), which ensures a safe and secure end-to-end event journey for planners and attendees.
The TSAM is backed by Bureau Veritas Certification Malaysia, where certifications are based on standards set by the World Health Organisation. This includes the “Travel Safe” certification for travel and tour arrangements, “Clean & Safe Malaysia” label for hotels, and “SafeBE” for business events and convention venues.
“We continue to put our clients’ needs first in order to provide a ‘safe event haven’,” Teo said.
This article is brought to you by SETIA CITY CONVENTION CENTRE and SETIA SPICE