Page 11 - Malaysia Convention & Exhibition Directory 2020-2021
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 MALAYSIA CONVENTION & EXHIBITION DIRECTORY 2020/2021 EDITORIAL
 During the lockdown, however, exhibition spaces still came in handy. To prepare for the possible spike in COVID-19 cases, the exhibition halls of the Malaysia Agro Exposition Park Serdang (MAEPS) was converted into a huge makeshift hospital for a maximum of 604 patients. What was more impressive was that this was done in just four days.
Additionally, the Malaysia Convention and Exhibition Bureau (MyCEB) collaborated with the Kuala Lumpur Convention Centre and launched an online education platform to invigorate the country’s business events industry. Developed by the International Association of Professional Congress Organisers (IAPCO), the webEDGE platform provides access to a 14-course congress project management package that is presented by industry experts with the aid of actual case studies.
MyCEB CEO Abdul Khani Daud said the slowdown from the COVID-19 pandemic provided an opportunity for those in business tourism to not only plan for the future but also to develop and learn to come back stronger.
“Learning and development never stops. In an industry that is primarily about international business, it is crucial to continuously speak on a global level. This is where we see webEDGE playing its role,” he said, adding that the course will elevate the expertise of Professional Congress Organisers (PCOs) and the supply chains in the business events industry.
MACEOS also did not sit idly by during the lockdown. It got busy holding discussions with government ministries and agencies and sharing information on the issues that affected industry players. It also began working on best industry practices for the new norm and making recommendations to the government.
According to MACEOS president Vincent Lim: “Led by the Malaysia Convention & Exhibition Bureau (MyCEB), MACEOS collaborated with the Business Events Council Malaysia (BECM), consulted with thought leaders in the industry, compiled global industry best practices, and developed a
comprehensive framework addressing the Standard Operating Procedures (SOPs) for Malaysia’s business events industry.”
After the lockdown eased up and more and more sectors were allowed to reopen by the time the Recovery Movement Control Order (RMCO) was implemented, the MICE industry was still one of the last sectors to get the okay to resume operations. This was because business events were categorized under “mass gatherings”, which industry players disagreed with, as MICE events can be highly controlled and carefully managed with stringent safety and security protocols in place. Now that the sector has received the green light, it still needs to adhere to health SOPs and limit the number of attendees to 250.
On June 3, 2020, the 5th Global Exhibitions Day was celebrated with the message “exhibitions are key to rebuilding economies”. MACEOS joined in the celebrations and highlighted that the exhibitions sector supports partnerships and business growth across all industries and economies. It also added that face-to-face exhibitions have the potential to reconnect, restart and rebuild communities and economies.
Lim said: “At a time when the COVID-19 pandemic has put the brakes on national economies and international trading activities for several months, there is nothing quicker to get us out of this slump than by supporting domestic and international exhibitions and business events again.”
With the border still closed, suggestions have already come in on ways to work around it to welcome business travellers from abroad. Trade event organiser Informa Markets has proposed a “travel bubble”. The term refers to an agreement between countries that have successfully contained the spread of COVID-19 to open their borders to each other. Countries that have been suggested for a travel bubble include South Korea, Taiwan, Japan, China, Thailand, Singapore, Australia and Vietnam.
It remains to be seen if the government will take up the suggestion, but the MICE industry is certainly raring to go!
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