Sarawak Changing the Scene of Business Conferences

Exploring the business side of Sarawak

photos by: Satoko Omata and Lepau catering

 

When you are a frequent conference attendee in Kuala Lumpur, you would notice that many organisers have a set checklist of what needs to be in place. It always boils down to the same selection of hotels, similar food and drinks, with a frigid business-like atmosphere. So, why not try something different?

Head on over to Sarawak, an East Malaysia state that is known for its rich culture and traditions, along with a wide range of culinary experiences. There is more than what meets the eyes for the ‘land of the hornbills’.

After more than a decade of stepping foot into the dynamic sector of playing host to numerous business events, Sarawak is now ready to refine, reinvent and redefine the economic landscape.

 

Amelia Roziman, Chief Operating Officer of the Sarawak Convention Bureau, presenting her speech after gracing the audience with a dance performance.

Driving the industry to greater heights

In November 2016, Kuching was the first Malaysian city to ever host the ‘Olympics’ of the Business Events sector, known as the 55th International Congress and Convention Association (ICCA) Congress. Because of that, the capital of Sarawak remains one of the very few Asian second-tier hosts for this event.

According to the Sarawak Convention Bureau (SCB), Sarawak was chosen due to the ‘tribal appeal’ of the multi-cultured state and ICCA saw the potential of Sarawak being a new central gateway to the booming Asia Pacific region.

Inspired from the same level of passion and success last year, the 2017 campaign of ‘Redefining Global Tribes’ (RGT) aims to carry on the state’s greatest triumph, which is to cultivate a more impactful scope for the Business Events sector.

“As a fluid sector, Business Events attracts trade, talent and foreign investment. It has the natural affinity to assemble the world into one powerful Global Tribe, unrestricted by boundaries but bound by great passion,” explains Amelia Roziman, Chief Operating Officer of Sarawak Convention Bureau (SCB).

According to SCB, conferences have injected over RM504 million into Sarawak’s economy since 2006, which is a tremendous economic contribution.

Tan Sri Dr. Muhd Leo Michael Toyad Abdullah, Chairman of SCB; with Datuk Abdul Karim Rahman Hamzah, Sarawak’s Minister of Tourism, Arts, Culture, Youth and Sports; and Datuk Abang Haji Abdul Karim Tun Abang Haji Openg, President, Sarawak Chamber of Commerce and Industry and Deputy Chairman for SCB’s Board of Directors.

More than just good business

Because that the Business Events sector generates over 5.5 times more expenditure when comparing business visitors to leisure tourists, SCB seeks to ensure that Sarawak-style conferences are sought after as they deliver strong business offerings and a delightful experience for the delegates.

“Personally, I don’t want them to come here just to attend a conference, but would like them to extend their stay and discover the opportunities within Sarawak since there is so much more than meets the eye,” states Eric van Piggelen, CEO of the Borneo Convention Centre Kuching (BCCK).

He also mentions that Sarawak is an ideal place to play host to Business Events as it is chock full of unique attractions to bring additional flavours into the mix. Of course, as with any other venue, it’s not just about the surroundings. Sure, Sarawak is the biggest state in the country and is also known for the size of its rainforest, so you can expect that the place is big on nature.

However, another important aspect is its ability to offer visitors a unique gastronomical experience. In other words, if you have the opportunity to attend a business conference in Sarawak, don’t forget to try its wide variety of local dishes!

Belacan Mealworm
Deep Fried Pounded Tepus
Pitoh (steamed glutinous rice wrapped in Itun Sip), a traditional Orang Ulu snack
Stir Fried Ferns, featuring three different ferns found in Sarawak (Midin, Paku Sungai and Paku Uban)

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