Malaysia witnessed an unprecedented virtual movement today with the gathering of the country’s business events players to highlight the plight of the industry through the #saveourconventioncentres initiative.
Championed by the Malaysian Association of Convention and Exhibition Organisers and Suppliers (MACEOS), the initiative which virtually gathered an estimated 500 industry players, aims to draw a critical focus on the survival of business events through visual representations on social media.
As a part of the initiative, participants will be uploading their images wearing the #saveourconventioncentres T-shirts on social media including Facebook, Instagram, and LinkedIn with the said hashtag to reach out to relevant authorities for awareness.
MACEOS’ newly elected President, Francis Teo stated that “#saveourconventioncentres is our first initiative, a conversation starter that we would like to have with the Malaysian Government to allow to business events players to work with the authorities in designing safety guidelines for the reopening of the industry.”
“We are very thankful for the announcement that Majlis Keselamatan Negara (MKN) has principally agreed to allow the opening of business events, and also starting to look into opening the borders for Johor- Singapore, Sabah, and Sarawak as well as Langkawi by January 2021. It is one of the best news we have heard from the year’s challenges in surviving,” Teo added.
Notably, a report by MACEOS revealed that the industry usually hires 33,000 permanent staff and engages almost 60,000 part-timers during the peak of the business. Unfortunately, as of December 2020, Malaysia’s closing of travel borders and various levels of MCO has resulted in more than 1550 business events cancellation and postponement with the estimated industry loss of RM2.25 billion.
Business events industry players see domestic events such as trade shows, conferences and more as a meeting point needed more than ever now to help businesses survive the challenges. With that underlying need, convention centres can still serve as the platform for these exchanges.
Industry players highly acknowledge the need for strict Standard Operating Procedures (SOP) due to the precarious situation, of which MACEOS has duly drafted an enhanced guideline for the industry, making sure that it adheres to the various levels of Movement Control Orders (MCO).
“Our expertise lies in organising and hosting large events and I assure the authorities that our SOPs are based on our experiences, professionalism, and extreme mindfulness to balance lives and livelihoods.
At the same time, we appeal to the Security Committee of the pandemic namely the MKN, Ministry of Internal Security, Ministry of International Trade and Industry (MITI), Ministry of Health (MOH), and Ministry of Finance (MOF) to work with us and refine our SOPs so we can make the comeback of business events a reality,” Teo explained.
In line with the Ministry of Tourism, Arts & Culture (MOTAC)’s core objectives of restoring confidence for travellers, MACEOS believes that balancing lives and livelihoods will pave way for a faster reopening of travel borders.
“If we can pull through domestic business events successfully, this will automatically win the confidence of international delegates. Once our borders are open, we can look at restoring the industry and destination in full glory or even better pre-Covid-19.
We can start by saving our national pride first, for our convention centres to operate and boost local businesses,” Teo concluded.