Biz events need more aid to retain regional share

The sector needs to focus on assisting the supply chain with cost recovery strategies, adaption of new business models and new event delivery solutions

by HARIZAH KAMEL / pic source:

WITHOUT stronger support from the government, Malaysia’s business events industry will collectively lose its regional market share and competitive advantage to neighbouring countries.

The Kuala Lumpur Convention Centre (the Centre) GM Alan Pryor said in the current competitive environment, government support often makes the difference in influencing where events are held and it is a challenge for venues to innovate and add value to attract events in the absence of sufficient subvention.

“It is crucial for Malaysia to build momentum to increase its market presence, and to strengthen its safe destination credentials to provide assurance and build visitor confidence in light of the evolving impact of the Covid-19 pandemic.

“First and foremost, we need to focus on assisting the supply chain with cost recovery strategies, adaption of new business models and new event delivery solutions and how we deal with risk management and scenario planning,” he told The Malaysian Reserve in an email interview recently.

Pryor noted that regional counterparts have continued to invest in, focus on and actively grow their business events markets even during the pandemic, citing countries like Singapore, Thailand, Indonesia, Hong Kong, South Korea, Australia and New Zealand, all understand the true value of business events and support their industries with various stimulating programmes and initiatives.

He also highlighted the business events sector in many ways differ from events that are classified as “mass gatherings” or “public events” as evident during the first lockdown in 2020, when the industry collectively demonstrated how business events can continue to be efficiently and safely conducted in a strictly controlled environment based on the approved standard operating procedures (SOPs).

“The sector being closed till Phase 4 is detrimental to the already faltering livelihoods and survival of the workforce. It is more crucial than ever that the industry is recognised beyond the meetings and events aspect, the economic and social value it brings to a country and its importance in a healthy economy. This is evident in our regional neighbouring countries,” he said.

However, Malaysia remains a very accessible destination in the hub of South-East Asia with good airline connectivity as it has an experienced and knowledgeable supply chain and a great value for money proposition.

“It is known for its world-class venues and accommodation infrastructure that caters to both the budget-conscious and luxury markets. Malaysia’s warm and friendly people, cultural diversity and English language proficiency are attributes that differentiate it from the competition.

“Although business events sustained a huge hit due to the pandemic it has also provided the time for everyone to take a step back and not only plan for the future but focus on upskilling, learning and development initiatives, such as the recent IAPCO EDGE Seminar, to ensure we are ready for a bigger and better comeback,” said Pryor.

He underscored the need to continue this trend and grow collaborations and partnerships further to advance professional standards and skills of the local supply chain to increase bid wins and enhance the Centre’s attractive destination proposition, strengthening the country’s market share in the region and globally.

“The Centre will continue to build on our commitment towards industry advocacy and engagement initiatives to upskill and develop the capabilities and capacity of our national supply chain,” he concluded.

The Centre is Malaysia’s first venue to be granted the Safe Business Events (SafeBE) certification, a hygiene and safety label, by Bureau Veritas.

The SafeBE certification programme, initiated and supported by the Business Events Council Malaysia, gained collaboration from the Malaysian Association of Convention & Exhibition Organisers & Suppliers and the Malaysia Convention & Exhibition Bureau to drive the venue certification process to create an end-to-end safe and secure event journey for event organisers and participants alike. It recognises a venues’ implementation of the government endorsed BE SOPs and the team’s operational excellence in event management, food and hospitality service standards in the new norm.