The Business Events Council Malaysia (BECM) has filed an appeal letter to the Ministry of Tourism, Arts and Culture (MOTAC) urging authorities to move forward the targeted October resumption timeline for the business events sector.
“On behalf of Malaysia’s venue sector, we seek MOTAC’s assistance to represent us in this very difficult time to highlight the need for business events to safely operate and reopen in Phase 2, with fully vaccinated staff, fully vaccinated delegates and clients, and in line with our existing strict Standard Operating Procedures (SOPs)," said Alan Pryor, GM of the Kuala Lumpur Convention Centre (KLCC).
The appeal letter is supported by six purpose-built venues, which Pryor hopes will lead to a positive outcome.
Currently, the business events sector is classified under social activities and only allowed to resume operations in Phase 4 of Malaysia's National Recovery Plan.
Pryor also pointed out that business events are distinctly different from “mass gatherings” or “public events”, referring to approved SOPs established in 2020.
“Professionally-managed, purpose-built venues with flexible space are enabled to cater to multiple events at one time in a very controlled and regulated environment.
"Notably, the collective industry has never been associated with a cluster, yet we have been closed for the majority of this year and remain unable to host even fully virtual events or command centre work. Many venues begun operating as vaccination centres which are also gradually closing or shrinking operations.”
Apart from Malaysia's venues remaining closed since March 2020, Pryor is also mindful of the destination's declining visibility as a business events destination, as many of its regional and international counterparts are actively resuscitating their business events sector.
"It is evident that our regional neighbouring countries understand the high economic and social values contributed by the industry and its importance in a healthy economy. Around us, countries are mobilising business events to support their nations’ post-pandemic recovery agenda and we simply cannot be left behind when Malaysia has so much value to offer as a compelling meetings destination.
"We humbly appeal for MOTAC’s assistance to save an industry sector that is also an economic and social driver of the knowledge and the visitor economy for many years.”