KUCHING, 21 November 2016: Sarawak Convention Bureau (SCB) celebrates 10 years of promoting events business across this popular east Malaysian state.
Business events have expanded a fast rate with 59 conferences hosted last year representing an attendance of 17,910 international delegates.
The bureau estimates the events generated MYR32.6 million in direct delegate expenditure in 2015.
Kuching, the state capital, is the main venue for exhibitions and conventions as it has a full range of hotels across all categories and a convention centre.
“Business Events in Sarawak are having a profound impact on the local economy,” Sarawak Convention Bureau managing director Mike Cannon noted.
To mark the 10th anniversary the board has launched ‘BE Sarawak’, a three-pronged programme that focuses on communications, education and awards for associations, corporate organisations, government agencies, media and industry partners that play a pivotal role in drawing more events to the state.
SCB’s core activity is to work with industry players, government departments and professional associations to actively lobby and bid for major international events. Many of the events are linked to environment and conservation as the state is famed for its national parks. But there are industry related events linked to oil and gas, forest and water management, medical and educational events.
Mary Wan Mering from Sarawak Tourism commented: “We have variations of business, such as medical and education tourism. However, business events represent the strongest channel to raise the profile of the destination and reinforce our brand.”
According to Nora Wee, Meetings, Incentives, Conferences and Exhibitions (MICE) Manager for Imperial Hotel Kuching, business events contribute more revenue than the leisure market for the hotel, probably three times more.
As expected, the local tourism industry has plenty to gain as well. Mok Venia, managing director of Cat City Holidays, said: “Business events has transformed the mind-set of tourism operators. Destination management companies (DMCs) were born because the rise of business events in Sarawak. The arrival of this profession provided not only a learning curve, but it also sharpened skill sets.”
ASA recognised 90 meeting hosts and honoured seven special winners to acknowledge the contribution of hosts and industry partners to the growth of business events sometimes referred to as MICE.
Awardees were presented with marketing and training grants of MYR10,000 or MYR20,000 to be used for international marketing efforts, or to attend conferences to build or reinforce influential business events networks, skills, capacities, and knowledge.
SCB was recognised for its accomplishments. It has organised 424 events in its 10-year career attracting 167,000 delegates from around the world.
In addition it has 194 other events, with an estimated 56,000 delegates, generating an estimated MYR92 million into the state’s turnover.
Particularly noteworthy is Sarawak’s greatest tourism asset; the Rainforest World Music Festival, now a firm calendar favourite for World Music fans worldwide.