Singapore seen as benchmark for Malaysia in business tourism

GENTING HIGHLANDS: is looking at as a benchmark to bring in more business tourism, which includes the meetings, incentives, conventions and exhibitions or MICE segment, into the country, with a target of 10%-15% of overall tourism receipts by 2020.

Currently, MICE alone contributes about 8% to total tourism receipts.

Deputy Minister of Tourism, Arts and Culture Muhammad Bakhtiar Wan Chik said business tourists bring in three times more revenue than leisure tourists.

“Singapore has 40% of their tourism receipts from business tourists so we might want to benchmark Singapore in terms of tourism receipts when it comes to business tourists. We might not be like Singapore, but we should target about 10%-15% (business tourism) by 2020,” he told a press conference after opening the Malaysia Business Events Week (MBEW) yesterday.

The ministry’s target is to achieve 36 million tourists by 2020, generating RM168 billion in tourism receipts. By 2020, business events are expected to contribute RM3.9 billion in the incremental of gross national income. The business events industry will remain an important component to Malaysia’s prosperity.

Meanwhile, Muhammad Bakhtiar said the ministry is looking at closing two or three of its international tourism offices, including in Auckland and Osaka, this year.

He said with digital marketing, it does not really need the physical offices and is able to reach its target market using social media.

“Under the rationalisation process, we might close two to three offices, mainly Auckland and Osaka. The Sydney office will be covering Australia and New Zealand.

“We have 37 international tourism offices now, so we would have 35 (after the closure of two offices). We’re also looking at a few, those in Kazakhstan, Almaty … If it doesn’t bring any tourists from that area or region, we might close it so that we can save more on operating costs.”

Each tourism office employs two expats. With 37 offices, it has 74 expats.

“We’re running at RM67 million to RM70 million a year just to operate these offices,” Muhammad Bakhtiar explained.

Meanwhile, the Malaysia Convention & Exhibition Bureau (MyCEB) has secured over 300 events, with around 451,000 delegates and RM3.5 billion in estimated economic impact from 2018-2028.

MyCEB CEO Datuk Zulkefli Sharif said topping the list are conventions (47.69%), followed by incentives (45.66%) and trade exhibitions (6.65%).

He said business events are catalysts for socio-economic growth. The impact from hosting international business events not only stretches beyond direct spending and job creation, but also amplifies the benefits beyond tourism. The legacy impact will help power Malaysia’s continued development as a knowledge and creative society.

“We’ve embarked on a business events roadmap beyond 2020. One of the reasons we want to put up this roadmap is to ensure that we collaborate closer with all the ministries, helping and complementing them to bid for more events to (be hosted in) Malaysia,” Zulkefli said.

He added that there is a need to engage Asean and Asian countries besides aiming globally on business events.

MBEW acts as a platform for stakeholders to communicate and debate issues that impact the future growth and sustainability of the business events industry. It started in 2014 as the national bureau found increasing momentum in the business events industry.

Themed “Our Future by Design: Embracing Change”, the fourth MBEW communicates the ability and readiness of the local landscape to embrace change, given its robustness and well-developed, world-standard offerings.

Source: The Sun Daily

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