Recording an 85 percent bid success rate in 2013, Sarawak Convention Bureau (SCB), a promoter of the Malaysian state’s tourism and convention industry, surpassed its targeted bid wins.
A record 57 convention bids is expected to contribute an estimated direct delegate expenditure of RM 41.6 million to the state of Sarawak — an increase of 26.7 percent from 2012.
Since its inception in 2006, SCB grew to secure 277 bids, contributing an estimated RM 270 million of direct delegate expenditure to Sarawak. The value of these wins and business goes way beyond economics for Sarawak. For example, education, research, export, trade, foreign exchange and corporate social responsibility (CSR) opportunities were key outcomes.
“The Bureau’s success would not have been possible without the continuous support from our clients, industry partners plus federal and state governments [that] have worked to raise Sarawak’s profile as a business events destination,” said Leo Michael Toyad Abdullah, chairman, Sarawak Convention Bureau. “Moreover, Sarawak has enjoyed the benefits of infrastructure development and upgrade, global knowledge exchange and increased job opportunities for the local communities.”
Among the major conventions secured in 2013: International Energy Week (2014); International Conference of the International Vocational Education and Training Association (2015); 55th ICCA Annual General Assembly (2016); 13th Asia Pacific Orchid Conference and Show (2019); and Asian Confederation for Physiotherapy (2016).
Kuching hosted the 33rd ASEAN Tourism Forum that began on Jan. 16. Attracting over 1,600 delegates, including 879 sellers from ASEAN countries, and 462 international buyers to Sarawak, ATF has allowed the state to showcase its best tourism products and business events facilities. Organized by the Ministry of Tourism and Culture, Malaysia in collaboration with the State Government of Sarawak and ASEAN Tourism Association (ASEANTA), ATF 2014 is the first main business event of more than 20 such activities planned for Sarawak; not to mention more than 200 activities planned for ‘Visit Malaysia Year 2014’, where 28 million arrivals and RM 76 billion in tourism income are expected.
SCB participated in ATF by organizing a Sarawak-styled hospitality suite to attract potential buyers during the event. Showcasing a different theme for each day, three in total, the decorations were sponsored by Emil’s Garden, Events Horizon and Wicked Events — all local Sarawak event management companies. The themes were Kenyalang Rainforest Magic (Day 1), Meowing in the Cat City (Day 2) and Borneo Adventure (Day 3).
ATF 2014 also saw the presentation of the ASEAN Green Hotel Award that recognized 86 hotels in the region for their efforts toward environmental conservation and sustainable tourism.
“We’re glad to see eight hotels from Malaysia receiving the Green Hotel Award; two of which are in Sarawak – Riverside Majestic Hotel and Miri Marriott Resort and Spa,” said Mike Cannon, managing director, Sarawak Convention Bureau. “These hotels have adhered to green and sustainable practices in support of responsible tourism – a much added-value feature for delegates to Sarawak.”
2014 will see a number of new or recently established business event facilities in Sarawak:
Borneo Samariang Resort City
Borneo Samariang Resort City is slated to be a satellite township located to the north of Kuching. It will consist of 500 acres, which will be developed over a 10-year period as an integrated resort city with theme park attractions, resort accommodation and dedicated MICE Center.
KTS Garden, Kuching
KTS Garden houses a main hall and a Chinese/Cantonese-style cuisine restaurant that accommodates up to 60 tables and 20 tables, respectively. The function hall was specially designed to cater for large events or conferences.
Imperial Hotel Kuching
The latest addition to the many hotels in Kuching, the Imperial Hotel Kuching will have 325 rooms, and a main ballroom able to accommodate 1,500 pax (banquet) and nine meeting rooms that will be able to accommodate 40-60 pax (banquet). Its expected completion is in March.