Page 10 - Malaysia Convention & Exhibition Directory 2020-2021
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 MALAYSIA CONVENTION & EXHIBITION DIRECTORY 2020/2021 EDITORIAL
COVID-19 IMPACT ON THE MICE INDUSTRY
  The Meetings, Incentives, Conventions and Exhibitions industry, also known as MICE, is a specialised niche of group tourism that has been growing in strength over the past few years to become an important contributor to the country’s economy. Despite its recognisable acronym of MICE, the industry has been keen to move away from the rodent reference by embracing the term “business events” industry. The usage of MICE, however, remains popular as it encapsulates the relevant areas of the industry.
According to the Malaysian Association of Convention and Exhibition Organisers and Suppliers (MACEOS), the industry contributed RM3.9 billion in direct expenditure and generated RM9.2 billion in economic impact in 2019. A total of 1,025 business events were organised last year attracting over 540,000 international business travellers to Malaysia.
Additionally, the International Convention & Conference Association (ICCA) Statistics Report 2019 said that Kuala Lumpur had its best ranking in seven years last year. The city reached seventh position in the Asia and Oceania region and ranked 22nd in the world, moving up 12 spots from 2018.
To cater to the growing events industry, the size of convention centres in Malaysia are also growing in size. In 2017, the country’s largest exhibition centre opened. The Malaysia
International Trade and Exhibition Centre (MITEC) features over 51,000 square metres of exhibition space consisting of exhibition halls (including the largest pillarless exhibition hall in Malaysia equivalent to two football fields), a ballroom and meeting rooms that are able to accommodate up to 47,700 visitors in a theatre-style seating and 28,300 guests in a banquet arrangement.
It won’t be long, however, before MITEC loses its title as Malaysia’s largest exhibition centre. With the incorporation of the existing Putrajaya International Convention Centre (PICC), the Malaysia Exposition and Convention Centre (MyExpo) is poised to be the largest MICE venue not just in Malaysia but also in all of Southeast Asia. With almost 140,000 square metres that can accommodate up to 60,000 people at a time, the centre is expected to open its doors in 2021 and bring in a total annual revenue of RM500 million.
Tourism, of which the business events sector is a part of, is an important foreign exchange earner for the country, coming in third after manufacturing and commodities. As such, there were high expectations for Visit Malaysia 2020, as the Visit Malaysia campaigns traditionally bring in more visitors and their money into the country. Visit Malaysia 2020 was initially projected to welcome some 36 million tourists and an estimated revenue of RM168 billion. This was later adjusted to 30 million tourists and RM100 billion revenue.
The COVID-19 outbreak, however, brought the industry to a standstill. The Visit Malaysia 2020 campaign had to be deferred and MICE events were either cancelled or postponed. Some of these major events include the World Congress on Information Technology 2020, the Kuala Lumpur International Logistics and Transport Exhibition 2020, the Electronics Manufacturing Expo Asia 2020, the Malaysian International Furniture Fair, the Malaysia Autoshow 2020, the EcoWorld Women’s Summit 2020, and the World Tunnel Congress. While the tourism sector as a whole lost an estimated RM3 billion in the first two months, the business events sector suffered an estimated loss of over RM1.75 billion by May 2020.
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