“Business events should reopen on Phase 2 of NRP, not Phase 4”

THE Business Events Council Malaysia (BECM) submitted a letter of appeal to the Ministry of Tourism, Arts and Culture (MOTAC) in regards to allowing purpose-built venues to resume operations, along with a request to reopen the business events industry as the National Recovery Plan (NRP) enters Phase Two instead of the current timeline of Phase Four.

“On behalf of Malaysia’s venue sector, we seek MOTAC’s assistance to represent us in this very difficult time to highlight the need for business events to safely operate and reopen in Phase 2, with fully vaccinated staff, fully vaccinated delegates and clients,” stated the Kuala Lumpur Convention Centre general manager Alan Pryor.

According to Pryor, it is unfair that the business events industry had to face such hardship of shutting down when there has never been a cluster being reported from business events.

Alan Pryor

“Notably, the collective industry has never been associated with a cluster, yet we have been closed for the majority of this year and remain unable to host even fully virtual events or command centre work.

“Many venues begun operating as vaccination centres which are also gradually closing or shrinking operations,” he commented.

Since the business events sector conducts events in a highly controlled and regulated environment, Pryor noted that they are distinctly different from events that are classified as “mass gatherings” or “public events”.

Business events are highly-organised and well-executed events with extreme professionalism, with months of precision planning and proven standard operating procedures (SOPs).

In fact, in 2020, the industry unanimously demonstrated how business events can continue to be conducted efficiently and safely in a strictly controlled environment based on the approved SOPs, successfully distinguishing itself apart from general mass gatherings, and paving the way to industry reopening.

“The sector now being closed till Phase 4 is detrimental to the already faltering livelihoods and survival of the workforce. We humbly appeal for MOTAC’s assistance to save an industry sector that is also an economic and social driver of the knowledge and the visitor economy for many years,” said Pryor.

Malaysia’s venues are in crisis upon losing their means to earn revenue since March 2020. Clients, hotels and the entire supply chain rely heavily on venues to host events that generate income and guarantee business sustainability through the provision of a variety of services and products.

Even the whole supply chain has been decimated, from professional conference organisers, event companies, exhibition organisers and contractors to suppliers of F&B, destination management companies, audio visual and IT companies and many more.

Malaysia’s visibility as a premier business events destination is declining as many of its regional and international counterparts are actively resuscitating their business events sector.

“It is more crucial than ever that Malaysia recognises business events industry beyond the aspect of congregation. It is evident that our regional neighbouring countries understand the high economic and social values contributed by the industry and its importance in a healthy economy.

“Around us, countries as mobilising business events to support their nations’ post-pandemic recovery agenda and we simply cannot be left behind when Malaysia has so much value to offer as a compelling meetings destination,” Pryor concluded. – Sept 16, 2021

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