The State remains a popular destination for business events, evidenced by more than 80 events secured in 2020, to take place between now and 2026. Minister of Tourism, Arts and Culture Sarawak, Datuk Haji Abdul Karim Rahman Hamzah said this in his address at the virtual launching of the Meet Differently campaign hosted by Place Borneo on Zoom video conferencing platform this morning.
The Minister said the events would rake in an estimated RM293.27 million in total economic impact, as well as RM159.38 million in expected direct delegate expenditure. Of the figure, over 17 million of total tax revenue would create over 27,000 jobs for Sarawakians between now and 2026 when these events are held.
Karim was optimistic about the future of business events for Sarawak, especially seeing that the current pandemic had little effect on the number of events that had been secured for Sarawak until 2026. But change was however necessary, according to the Minister, in order to progress and keep up with the needs of the industry.
There is a need, he said, to regulate the nature, format and size of the events held, so as to ensure everyone’s safety and peace of mind. Thus, the Meet Differently campaign is relevant in an age where events are going hybrid and digital. One of the advantages of hybrid meetings, events and conferences is that people from all over the world may choose to attend virtually if they are unable to do so physically.
Karim also emphasised the need to instil confidence in delegates on Sarawak’s potential in being an ideal and safe destination for business events, saying that the State Government was ready to assist by means of giving information and guidelines for event planners to follow when organising their events.
Also speaking at the event this morning, Place Borneo’s Gracie Geikie said that the Meet Differently campaign was a means to encourage local industry players to think beyond the norm when it comes to organising events in this current day and age. She added that Sarawak, with its amazing nature among other unique attractions, was an ideal destination for MICE (Meetings, Incentives, Conferences and Exhibitions) events, despite the State being categorised as a second-tier destination.
Speaking further, Gracie said hybrid events were now in trend and would remain so, especially now that people are being extra cautious about travelling abroad to attend events in person.
Also present at this morning’s session were Permanent Secretary to the Ministry of Tourism, Arts and Culture, Hii Chang Kee, Place Borneo’s CEO, Mona Abdul Manap, Business Events Sarawak (BESarawak) CEO, Amelia Roziman and Damai Beach Resort General Manager, Muhd Fadhil Abdullah, among others.