Happy days for wedding planners, but insecurities linger for events

by HARIZAH KAMEL / Pic by TMR FILE PIX

AS ONE of the hardest hit sectors during the pandemic, the events planning industry is looking forward to returning to its feet as the government eases more Covid-19 protocols to allow social gatherings.

One of the earliest to get a boost is the wedding business, with pent-up demand driving up sales.

Association of Wedding Professionals Malaysia president Leticia Hsu told The Malaysian Reserve (TMR) that weddings are alive again and couples are anxious to get their weddings planned.

“The wedding industry has had a perk up in spirits. Venues are getting booked and vendors are getting enquiries and confirmations. Everyone is gearing towards having physical weddings by December 2021 and hopefully come January we will be back to normal,” she said.

Hsu said a recent Virtual Wedding Festival generated a lot of activities and excitement from couples who made bookings during that weekend and engaged over 100 vendors from different segments.

However, there are still patches of gloom in the industry. While weddings are gaining momentum, the same cannot be said for others.

Events Wizard Sdn Bhd events director Loh Tjun Hong said general events are still sluggish and lack real commitment from clients due to scepticism.

“Most are still in fear of another lockdown and further complications if they are to push ahead with physical events as it may affect financial obligations as well as teams’ morale.

“On the virtual front, incoming opportunities are a welcome sight. However, the setback falls unto the competitiveness of our industry with cut-throat prices from fellow vendors and unrealistic demands from clients. A hurtful portrayal of take-it or leave-it,” TMR was told.

Loh does not foresee any drastic changes in the next 12 months as the industry has always been labelled as “luxury expenses”.

“It’s very likely that we’ll be given the boot or little thought when the time comes for clients to choose between essentials versus luxuries,” he added.

In a statement, the Kuala Lumpur Convention Centre (the Centre) welcomes the recent government announcements regarding domestic travel and the success of tourism bubbles in its effort to fully revive the country’s economic sectors based on the National Recovery Plan.

Prime Minister Datuk Seri Ismail Sabri Yaakob announced the much-anticipated update allowing domestic and overseas travel for all fully vaccinated Malaysians from Oct 11.

The Centre’s GM Alan Pryor said they remain optimistic that the positive news will steer towards the full resumption of business events in the near future.

With small meetings currently allowed at 50% physical capacity, Pryor is hopeful that the domestic travel relaxation, the continued success of the travel bubbles and the closer we get towards reaching the national immunisation goal, will all soon pave the way towards allowing the business events sector to fully operate based on standard operating procedures (SOPs).

The business events industry, as detailed in the NRP, is currently slated to reopen in Phase Four, resulting in the prevailing temporary closures of most of its supply chain.

From June 7 to Sept 22, the Centre was turned into a mega vaccination centre with over 800,000 people in Kuala Lumpur vaccinated.

“Now, we must look forward and be ready to serve the business and trade community, and hope that the reopening of our industry will be expedited based on the progress we have made and are making,” said Pryor.