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Mice Asia Net : July 2009
malaysia excellence meetings and Story by brad foster There are few destinations in the world that have recorded tourism growth in 2009. but then there are few destinations like Malaysia. M alaysia welcomed close to 5.5 million visitors for the first quarter of 2009 and saw growth of 8.6 per cent for the month of March compared to the same period last year. This really is phenomenal considering the number of cities and countries that are going backwards in visitor numbers as the global financial crisis bites hard. And the good news is that the meetings business in Malaysia is remaining strong. One only has to look at the most recent figures from the Kuala Lumpur Convention Centre or indeed talk to the venue’s general manager to realise that Malaysia continues to fire on all cylinders. Indeed, a plaque in Peter Brokenshire’s office goes a long way to explaining the mindset of Malaysia as a whole. It says: “In the middle of difficulty lies opportunity”. In 2008 the KLCC experienced a 100 per growth in the number of events held, which Mr Brokenshire attributes to the strategic marketing and promotional activities the venue has undertaken. Since February 2003 the centre applied a long-term strategy to attract association meetings and international exhibitions. In the first four months of 2009 the centre has secured 17 more conferences for the city. Of these, five international conferences will be held between now and 2014 and are expected to attract 5700 delegates. “The successful bids are a reflection of international and regional associations and meeting planners’ confidence in Malaysia as an attractive destination for business tourism, the country’s strong track record and more importantly, they are testimony to Malaysia’s excellent value for money proposition,” he said. That talk of value is clearly one of the most highly valued areas of importance for the corporate meetings and association market in these difficult times. The World Economic Forum ranks Malaysia as 42 miceAsia.net the fourth most price competitive country in the world for travel and tourism in 2009, offering excellent price competitiveness with its low comparative hotel and fuel prices, low ticket taxes and airport charges plus a favourable tax regime. Kuala Lumpur was also rated the most price competitive city by Swiss banking giant, UBS in 2008 and the country scored for having the cheapest Big Mac among 34 countries surveyed according to the latest Big Mac index published by The Economist in February 2009. “In addition, Kuala Lumpur has evolved as a preferred international and regional meetings destination due in part to its strategic location in the heart of South East Asia, which is complimented with comprehensive and world-class infrastructure, professional service delivery and supporting infrastructure,” Mr Brokenshire added. He also attributes Malaysia’s growing reputation in the business tourism industry to the efforts of Team Malaysia, comprising the Malaysia Convention and Exhibition Bureau (MyCEB), Tourism Malaysia, Malaysia Airlines (MAS), Malaysia Airports Holdings Berhad (MAHB), the Kuala Lumpur City Hall (DBKL) and the Kuala Lumpur Convention Centre in promoting Malaysia and Kuala Lumpur as the destination of choice for business tourism. Space with grace When it comes to incentive-style events or meetings where you really have to make an impact, Kuala Lumpur definitely has it covered. And the good news is that you don’t have to stay in the heart of KL if you don’t want to. The Putrajaya region, 25 kilometres south of Kuala Lumpur and just 20 kilometres north of the Kuala Lumpur International Airport is often described as the most accessible “city within a city” in Malaysia. Described as the “city of the 21st century”, Putrajaya has some fantastic hotels, resorts and spaces that are favoured with incentive incentives par