Malaysia Updates

New fund to bolster Malaysia’s BE industry

Business events professionals can leverage US$1.2 tourism fund to support promotional activities and trade show participation.

The Malaysian government recently launched a RM5 million (US$1.2 million) promotional fund, known as GAMELAN Malaysia, to support tourism development – a move welcomed by business events industry leaders.

Announced last week by Malaysia’s minister of tourism, arts and culture, Mohamaddin Ketapi, the fund will support the ambitious Visit Malaysia 2020 target to attract 30 million visitors.

Professionals in the business events industry can tap into the fund for a reimbursement (up to 50 per cent) of their promotional activities and participation in trade shows.

Mint Leong, managing director leading DMC Sunflower Holidays, hopes the GAMELAN fund will encourage more industry players to take an active role in promoting Malaysia.

“We hope the fund can be extended for future years and the scope can be widened to cover familiarisation trips, product training and social media marketing,” she says.

Borneo Convention Centre Kuching CEO, Eric van Piggelen, said: “This is a good development that will benefit the overall tourism and business events sectors. This will greatly bolster the marketing efforts of our business events industry players, especially when paired with existing support received from government agencies.”

He adds: “In the long term, it can prove to be beneficial in increasing the visibility of Malaysian business events in an ever-growing and competitive market, particularly with the rise of emerging countries in the region such as Thailand and Vietnam.”

The Business Events Council Malaysia (BECM), formed last October, is also looking to leverage the fund to raise awareness of Malaysia’s attractive business events proposition.

Alan Pryor, BECM chairman and general manager of the Kuala Lumpur Convention Centre, says: “We will be encouraging industry players to utilise the fund to increase their participation in travel fairs and exhibitions and organise roadshows and sales missions.”

He adds: “We are also planning to use this as an opportunity to increase our engagement and open further dialogue with the government on the benefits of the business events industry.

“We can work together to boost the growth and professional development of Malaysia’s business events industry and better align initiatives to the key economic sectors and social imperatives, driving the development and prosperity of the country.”

Since its establishment, BECM has vigorously embraced its role as the official voice of the business events industry in Malaysia. Its communications plan has been rolled out to keep stakeholders informed of industry developments and updates.

Made up of several industry stakeholders, BECM is also working closely with the Malaysia Convention & Exhibition Bureau (MyCEB) to build industry data in a comprehensive and inclusive manner, and increase advocacy efforts.

“We are pleased that momentum is growing and that collaboration is taking place on a more consistent basis, in order to reach common goals for the benefit of the industry,” Pryor says. “Our sector leaders play an important role in cascading information so we can drive advocacy and government engagement more effectively.”