- Özgür Töre
On behalf of the Venue Sector of the Business Events Council Malaysia (BECM), an appeal letter has been submitted to the Ministry of Tourism, Arts and Culture (MOTAC) to seek assistance in allowing purpose-built venues to resume operations and in extension re-open the business events industry in Phase Two of the National Recovery Plan (NRP). Currently, the business events sector is only slated to re-open in Phase Four.
On behalf of the Venue Sector, Mr. Alan Pryor, General Manager of the Kuala Lumpur Convention Centre (the Centre), said that, “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, and in line with our existing strict Standard Operating Procedures (SOPs). BECM has submitted an appeal letter accompanied by Letter of Support from six purpose-built venues with regards to this matter and we are hoping for a positive outcome.”
“Professionally-managed purpose-built venues with flexible space are enabled to cater to multiple events at one time in a very controlled and regulated environment. 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.”
The business events sector conducts events in a highly controlled and regulated environment and 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, months of precision planning and proven SOPs.
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 re-opening.
Pryor continued, “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.”
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. The supply chain has been decimated - professional conference organisers, event companies, exhibition organisers and contractors, suppliers of F&B, destination management companies, audio visual and IT companies and many more are severely impacted due to the restriction on business events.
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, recognising how business events as an industry is a powerful and sustainable economic driver of recovery.
“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.