#saveourconventioncentres: A united front to revive Malaysia’s business events

MALAYSIA today witnessed an unprecedented virtual movement with the gathering of the country’s business events (BE) players to highlight the plight of the industry through the #saveourconventioncentres initiative.

Championed by the Malaysian Association of Convention and Exhibition Organisers and Suppliers (MACEOS), the initiative which gathered an estimated 500 industry players, aims to draw a critical focus on the survival of BE through visual representations on social media.

“#saveourconventioncentres is our first initiative, a conversation starter that we would like to have with the Malaysian Government to allow to BE event players to work with the authorities in designing safety guidelines for the reopening of the industry,” said MACEOS’ newly elected president Francis Teo.

“We are very thankful for the announcement that the National Security Council has principally agreed to allow the opening of Bes and also starting to look into opening the borders for Johor-Singapore, Sabah and Sarawak as well as Langkawi by January 2021,”

The industry hires 33,000 permanent staff and engages almost 60,000 part-timers during the peak of the business.

As of December 2020, Malaysia’s closing of travel borders and various levels of movement control order (MCO) has resulted in more than 1,550 business events cancellation and postponement with the estimated industry loss of RM2.25 bil, according to a report by MACEOS.

An industry which prides itself by bringing together people to not only create economic wealth but more importantly the exchange of knowledge, expertise and skills, the BE industry players see domestic events such as tradeshows, conferences and more as a meeting point needed more than ever now to help businesses survive the challenges.

Gathering of BEs at Persada Johor

With that underlying need, convention centres can still serve as the platform for these exchanges.

BE industry players have highly acknowledged the need for strict standard operating procedures (SOP) to contain the widespread of COVID-19, of which MACEOS has duly drafted an enhanced guideline for the industry.

World Trade Centre Kuala Lumpur executive director Datuk Seri Dr Irmohizam bin Ibrahim stressed the need to change the landscape and paradigm of the meetings, incentives, conferences and exhibitions (MICE) industry to being recognised as a BE industry.

“This is to show a positive perception for the industry to continue holding conferences and business events,” he pointed out.

“The operations of many convention centres are being closed as we speak. Therefore, this campaign is an initiative for the industry players to support and look out of each other as well as to venture into new practices to keep the industry going,” – Dec 17, 2020

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