Sarawak to emerge as a preferred business event destination in 2023
19 Dec 2022
Malaysia has the advantage to emerge as a preferred business events destination owing to its many well-known qualities such as the hospitality of its people and many unique attractions that will make events even more satisfying, fruitful and memorable.
Hence, its meetings, incentives, conventions and exhibitions (MICE) and business events (BE) industries have the potential to elevate the entire economy, creating cooperation between disparate elements, businesses, and individuals.
Sarawak, in particular, boasts the perfect venues and experiences for business events, while the state’s capital city Kuching itself is well known for its unique cultural identity to Malaysia and Borneo.
Kuching residents furthermore are keeping the cultural and heritage stories alive through food — which is why Kuching is the first city in Malaysia to receive Unesco’s City of Gastronomy accolade under the Unesco Creative Cities Network.
Popular dishes in the state include Sarawak laksa, kolo mee, sayur midin belacan, tomato mee, linut and ayam pansuh.
Additionally, the state is popularly known for its delicious Sarawak layer cake dessert, and each ethnic group has its own delicacies with different styles of preparing, cooking and consuming food.
From a business perspective, Kuching is the epicentre of economy, knowledge and trade in Sarawak and fast becoming a central point for national and international business event leaders.
Business events are substantial economic activities in Kuching with infrastructures growing and the ability to accommodate larger world conventions and exhibitions and incentive experiences.
There are many business event venues that Kuching can offer such as The Waterfront Hotel, Pullman Kuching, Riverside Majestic Hotel, Grand Margherita Hotel, Hilton Kuching, Borneo Convention Centre Kuching and Imperial Hotel Kuching, to name a few.
At the forefront of this effort is Business Events Sarawak (BESarawak), a specialist bidding services organisation that provides comprehensive support and services to connect meeting planners with the right connections and resources to plan and organise meetings, incentives, conventions and exhibitions.
BESarawak CEO Amelia Roziman said the business events industry is one of the key drivers for the tourism industry’s development in the state.
“This industry is an important generator of income, employment and investment — effects that go beyond the tourism impact,” she said during the Business Events Tribal Meet Familiarisation Trip organised by BESarawak.
Amelia said Sarawak business events cities include Kuching, Sibu and Miri, all of which have the right infrastructures and facilities for conventions, exhibitions, corporate meetings and corporate incentive events of all sizes.
“Sarawak is a leading choice for convention and exhibition planners from around the world because of its vast resources, from research units to state-of-the-art meeting facilities.
“The business events industry receives strong support from the Sarawak government which empowers planners to organise and execute more impactful events,” she said.
Amelia said that BESarawak also focuses on how sectors can advance and how communities can benefit from the knowledge and connections driven by business events.
“We are also offering various consultation services and providing aid to organisations in crafting a one-of-a-kind legacy impact programme that is tailor-made to your (client’s) specific needs,” she said.
BESarawak readily welcomes all stakeholders and the general public to embark on the journey for Sarawak as a business event destination in 2023 and beyond.
What does the industry say about it?
BESarawak organised a Business Events Tribal Meet Familiarisation Trip from Nov 27 until Dec 1 to introduce and familiarise participants with the city of Kuching as a business event destination.
Singapore-based Asian Society of Paediatric Anaesthesiology (ASPA) secretariat Jessie Tan said she likes Kuching and it can be her second home if the opportunity arises.
“I like to experience the different cultures and variety of foods that are available here in Sarawak and not forgetting the state is safe too.
“Nowadays, flights from Singapore to Sarawak are more frequent, and the state has the facilities and capacity to organise world-class events at a reasonable cost,” she said.
Tan also said her organisation has already held a business event in Sarawak since 2018, which is the fifth ICU rehabilitation conference.
“The next event will be held in July 2024, that is the ASPA conference,” she said.
Another industry player is World Travellers DMC Sdn Bhd and its general manager Annie Chia said that as the largest state in Malaysia, Sarawak has many things to offer to business events delegates such as its unique culture and diverse biodiversity.
“I believe Sarawak can hold international business events since the facilities are nearby from each other such as the hotel and the event venue.
“Many nice hotels are also just within walking distance from attractions like the Sarawak River and other attractions, and many amenities such as food and beverage outlets are also a short walk away,“ she said.
Chia also said that she is inspired by BESarawak’s effort to put legacy impact and sustainability at the forefront of Sarawak’s business events.
“I am planning to bring about 200 event participants to Sarawak next year,” she added.