Biz events a boon to Sarawak

SCB, together with sector partners, had conducted 697 international, regional and national meetings


Sarawak Convention Bureau (SCB) has generated RM504 million through business meetings, events and conventions since 2006 by leveraging on the strong international appeal of the Borneo brand in the global market.

Sarawak’s Minister of Tourism, Arts, Culture, Youth and Sports Datuk Abdul Karim Rahman Hamzah said over the past 12 years, SCB together with sector partners had conducted 697 international, regional and national meetings.

“Meetings, conferences and exhibitions held by SCB contributed over half a billion thus enlarging the sector’s prominence in the national economy,” he said during SCB’s launch of its latest campaign for business events in the state, entitled, “Redefining Global Tribes” on Saturday.

“The 697 meetings recorded almost 254,000 delegates, equivalent to 847,000 delegate days in Sarawak. The Sarawak MICE (meetings, incentives, conferences and exhibitions) experience is unique and SCB is committed to ensure this stays true,” he added.

He said there is a greater impact derived from business events over the long term especially for medicine, technology, science, and other advanced industries.

“By attempting to redefine an industry and strengthen its branding impact internationally, we have opened Sarawak’s doors wider to the world and are actively show-casing the state’s efficiency and capabilities to host prestigious business events,” Abdul Karim said.

He said the government will continue to support the sector as it continues to flourish with strong commitment from various key movers and shakers.

“Today, business events are more crucial than ever as most economies are transforming into knowledge intensive economies,” he said.

Abdul Karim said Sarawak has not been adversely affected by the softening of consumer sentiments and pull back on spending that the peninsula is experiencing.

“Sarawak is growing despite it all. It does not only reflect the confidence that foreigners and locals have in the state, it also shows our commitment to strive and stick with the momentum when the economic climate is rough,” he said.

Abdul Karim said the weakening of ringgit has not halted travel and spending in Sarawak.

MICE business event sector drums up 5.5 times more expenditure from business visitors compared to leisure tourists.

“Besides being known for oil and gas, Sarawak has many other hidden treasures that should be highlighted to the delegates, who should spend some of their time on leisure activities and discover the state’s beauty,” Abdul Karim said.

Apart from the economic gains, this sector also augurs well for the local community through knowledge-transfer and various corporate social responsibility initiatives brought along by it, he said.

“I am excited at the prospects of our state exploring possibilities and engaging with the world through partnerships and knowledge exchanges,” he said.

Abdul Karim who is also Asajaya assemblyman said the ministry and the state government have been working very hard in their endeavours to expand air connectivity into Sarawak.

According to him, talks with private airline players such as those from China, Indonesia and Thailand on establishing more direct flights to the state capital, Kuching are in the pipeline.

“This area (air connectivity) is where we are lacking and one we need to work on. I am optimistic that within a year we will have many more flights (coming) into Sarawak,” he added.

SCB chairman Datuk Seri Dr Mohd Leo Toyad Abdullah said “Redefining Global Tribes” has been Sarawak’s boldest campaign that has been made possible through the collaboration and support SCB received, which resulted in outstanding influx of business events to Sarawak.

“So far in 2017, efforts by SCB and its sector partners have brought in 34 business events, representing close to 12,000 delegates and 33,000 delegate days, translating into approximately RM37 million in direct delegate expenditure in Sarawak,” he said.