by HARIZAH KAMEL / Pic by TMR FILE PIX
ALMOST 100% of business event venues experienced at least a dramatic 85% decrease in total events, resulting in a minimum of 75% plunge in overall 2020 revenue compared to the previous year due to business inactivity brought by Covid-19.
“Last year was a tragic year for the industry and it continues to be so as the industry is unable to operate in line with government restrictions,” Business Events Council Malaysia (BECM) chairman Alan Pryor said in a statement yesterday.
“With vaccine finally coming within reach — giving way to herd immunity and potentially allowing us to put the uncertainties behind us — the pent-up demand for meetings, conferences and business events will supersede the supply,” he added.
He called for the government to continue to enhance more active engagement with the business events industry in order to advance mutual economic recovery goals and strategies.
BECM is actively reaching out to the government to maintain a more consistent communication channel to discuss how venues and the industry can help rehabilitate the country’s economy, Pryor said.
“Last year, in cooperation with the government, we demonstrated a safe and controlled manner to conduct events in strict adherence to the standard operating procedures (SOPs), championed by venues and supported by organisers.
“We plead the government to place the same level of confidence in the industry again, allowing us to operate in a phased approach, in an effort to stimulate our cities and local businesses economically,” added Pryor.
According to a 2018 report by the Malaysia Convention and Exhibition Bureau, the business events industry was expected to contribute RM3.9 billion in the incremental gross national income, thus providing about 16,700 jobs by 2020.
In 2019, the Kuala Lumpur Convention Centre conducted over 1,500 meetings and events, welcoming over one million delegates and visitors, and generating an estimated economic impact of almost RM1 billion.
BECM said the venue sector alone employs thousands and its closure has had a major impact on the overall revenue contribution to the economy through the business events supply chain, affecting hotels, destination management companies and tour operators to stand builders, contractors, retails, local produce suppliers and part-time employment.
Meetings and events were allowed to operate for a few short months in 2020 which saw the development of comprehensive new norm SOPs, with venues investing in innovation and creation to expand their product and service range.
The efforts were hindered when the nation retreated into yet another lockdown, restricting interstate travel and banning meetings and gatherings into 2021, and thus pushing the supply chain of the industry into further dire conditions with a constant struggle for survival.