Event industry records RM1.8b loss due to Covid-19

by HARIZAH KAMEL/ pic by TMR FILE

OVER 1,250 business events in Malaysia have either been postponed or cancelled, resulting in an unprecedented economic loss of over RM1.75 billion with many members and industry players having zero income since the beginning of this year, the Malaysian Association of Convention and Exhibition Organisers and Suppliers said.

Its president Datuk Vincent Lim (picture) said the Covid-19 pandemic has halted the industry’s growth, where business events or meetings, incentives, conferences and exhibitions attracted 540,000 business travellers from overseas and contributed RM9.2 billion in economic impact last year.

As such, the association and the Business Events Council Malaysia (BECM) have recently launched the Business Events guidelines, a joint effort between two parties, signalling the comeback of business events.

“These guidelines must be practised, providing assurance and gaining public confidence that business events like exhibitions and conferences are safe, and all industry players must play their role to collectively work and continue to take precautionary measures to ensure the safety and health of everyone as our foremost priority,” Lim said.

“This comeback means a lot to us. The exhibitions, conferences and events industry can now kickstart and carry out with their plans, shows and so on,” added Lim.

BECM chairman Alan Pryor said they are confident that with the government’s support, the Malaysian business event industry is well-positioned to rebound strongly.

“We would like to commend the solidarity and collaboration of the industry’s supply chain to proactively drive engagement with the government to get our industry standing operating procedures (SOPs) approved and to demonstrate that business events, unlike mass gatherings, are executed in a safe, controlled and regulated environment.

“We continue to have an open dialogue with the government and are actively engaging with them on the value of our industry to the economy’s recovery,” he said.

Meanwhile, Ministry of Tourism, Arts and Culture (Motac) secretary general and Malaysia Convention and Exhibition Bureau chairman Datuk Dr Noor Zari Hamat, who officiated the event, said he was pleased that the business event industry has taken the lead to adopt the National Security Council’s SOPs for its members to adhere to.

He added that Motac is fully supportive of several initiatives by the government intended to stimulate the economic recovery of the country.

“The government has approved 13 SOPs to guide businesses involved in arts, culture and heritage exhibitions, hotels, tour operating companies, homestay operators, dry and water theme parks, and business events,” he said.