Are MICE events viable under new SOPs?

By YS Chan


ON March 1, the National Security Council (NSC) released the latest standard operating procedures (SOPs) for meetings, incentives, conventions and exhibitions (MICE) in states under the movement control order (MCO) and will be placed under conditional MCO from March 5.

It was reported that the limit on delegates, participants and visitors is set at 25% of the premise’s capacity, with a maximum of 250 people per event or for every 1,000 square metres (sq metres), whichever is lower. The statement is somewhat confusing and need clarification.

The number of participants in MICE events varies greatly. Meetings and seminars often do not exceed 50 participants. For conventions, around 250 delegates may be seated together. But it would be disastrous for exhibitions open to the public to attract only a few hundred visitors.

As such, the SOP should be not more than 250 people for every 1,000 sq metres at any one time. This would permit an organiser that has taken up 25,000 sq metres for a major exhibition to allow up to 6,250 people within the exhibition area at any one time.

And if visitors are required to exit within two hours, a maximum of 37,500 may enter within a 12-hour period from 10am to 10pm. It would be a huge success if a consumer travel fair could attract 112,500 visitors over three days.

In March 2019, the MATTA Fair held at the World Trade Centre in Kuala Lumpur featured 1,364 booths set up by 272 organisations, attracted a record 113,685 visitors and registered RM220 mil in sales.

But if exhibitions are limited to 250 people per event, then the SOPs must have been drawn up by those with only a superficial understanding of the various MICE and business events, lumping all of them together. What is good for the goose may not be good for the gander. – March 3, 2021



YS Chan is Asean Tourism Master Trainer for travel agencies, master trainer for Travel & Tours Enhancement Course and Mesra Malaysia (both programmes under Ministry of Tourism, Arts and Culture). He is also a tourism and transport industry consultant and writer.

The views expressed are solely of the author and do not necessarily reflect those of Focus Malaysia.

Photo credit: MITEC


Subscribe and get top news delivered to your Inbox everyday for FREE