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Malaysia MICE industry strengthens its image

Luc Citrinot, eTN  Nov 09, 2011

KUALA LUMPUR, Malaysia (eTN) - Since its launching in 2009, Malaysia Convention & Exhibition Bureau (MyCEB) has been aggressively marketing Malaysia as an easy destination for the MICE Meetings, Incentives, Conventions, and Exhibitions) industry. An independent structure from Malaysia tourism was then set up with representatives now also present in Europe. In 2010, MyCEB supported 28 convention bids representing 38,500 delegates with an economic impact estimated at US$144 million. It also assisted 124 meetings and conventions, 16 exhibitions, and 49 corporate incentive groups, which added an estimated economic impact of US$254 million.

Over the last decades, Malaysia has also seen the development of many new world-class convention facilities such as Borneo Convention Centre Kuching (Sarawak) and Putrajaya International Convention Centre, while new facilities or extensions are currently being developed at Kuala Lumpur Convention Centre, MATRADE Exhibition and Convention Centre in Kuala Lumpur, and the Johor Bahru Iskandar region. Earlier this year, financial incentives were introduced for MICE organizers, which are likely to further boost the attractiveness of Malaysia as a business tourism destination. According to Zulkefli Hj Sharif, Head of MyCEB, the scheme represents for 2011-2012 over US$16.5 million. Subventions will especially be made available to planners in the field of health and medical care, science and technology, halal food, and education, as well as oil and gas.

All these elements provided the right opportunity to launch a new branding campaign. On November 2, MyCEB organized a prestigious event at Kuala Lumpur Central Market to unveil its new tagline “Malaysia-Asia’s Business Events Hub.” The tagline coincided with the introduction of MyCEB's new website and a designed Quick Response Code (QR). Emphasizing Malaysia as the ideal gateway to conduct business events was easy according to Dr. James Dawos Mamit, Deputy Tourism Minister: “Look at our history. We have been strategically located on trade routes between India and China. For 600 years now, Malaysia has been the place to meet and do trade with Arabs, Indians, Chinese, and Europeans settling in our country. This unique blend of culture is a true asset to make Malaysia a cosmopolitan, dynamic, and progressive country,” he told in a speech at the launching event. Hosting the event at Central Market paid, in fact, homage to the area which has been for a long time the heart of trade for the Malaysian capital. The event showed also the capacity of Malaysia professionals in the MICE sector to tailor-make events in special venues.

The tagline “Malaysia-Asia’s Business Events Hub” is part of MyCEB's drive to improve the visibility of the bureau and its activities. The QR code gives to anyone a direct access to MyCEB offers on the web through mobile phones and smartphones. The redesigned web site will soon integrate an interactive meeting planner designed to help potential MICE organizers to work on potential events hosted in the country.

MyCEB is keen to achieve an ambitious target of welcoming 100,000 delegates at international conventions by 2015 compared to 59,000 in 2009. This on a total of over two million of arrivals linked to the hosting of international business events. “The economic impact value of international business event visitors could easily be doubled until 2015,” indicated Zulkefli Hj Sharif.

The strengthening of MyCEB branding will go in line with Malaysia’s tourism ambitions. “We will set to work to realize our hopes and aspiration in achieving our vision for 2020 - 36 million in tourist arrivals and US$54 billion in receipts. A famous Chinese proverb says that a 'journey of a thousand miles begins with a first step.' I look forward to seeing Malaysia’s business events industry and MyCEB traveling on a prosperous journey and creating milestones after milestones,” concluded James Dawos Mamit, Malaysia Deputy Minister of Tourism.

Malaysia MICE industry strengthens its image
Historical buildings in Kuala Lumpur can play host to MICE events / Photo by Luc Citrinot

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