With herd immunity being a cornerstone of economic recovery during this pandemic, business events industry players are pouring in multi-channel support for the National COVID-19 Immunisation Programme (Program Imunisasi COVID-19 Kebangsaan — PICK and Program Imunisasi Industri COVID-19 Kerjasama Awam-Swasta — PIKAS) to facilitate the speedy reopening of the country’s economy and jumpstart Business Events industry.
The Malaysian Association of Convention and Exhibition Organisers and Suppliers (MACEOS) president, Francis Teo, said: “At MACEOS, we encourage members to support the Government’s vaccination roll-out so that we can expedite the industry reopening. To date, a total of 20 venue operators have come forward to offer their facilities as vaccine delivery centres (Pusat Pemberian Vaksin — PPV).”
“The contributions of these convention centres are making a positive impact in meeting the immunisation goals of the Government. With their capacity and existing facilities, stringent adherence to SOPs and daily deep disinfection procedures, these event venues are able to accelerate the immunisation rate in Malaysia while boosting public confidence in the whole vaccination process,” he added.
The exhibition and convention centres which have been made into mega PPV centres are able to dispense close to 125,000 vaccine doses daily. This is about 30% of the average of 400,000 vaccine doses daily.
Teo said: “Only with the participation of our venue industry players in the national immunisation programme that our country is able to recently achieve the 2nd highest vaccination rate per capita in the world. Malaysia could record 50% of people completing their double dose vaccinations by mid October, 2021 at the current rate.”
Besides taking on roles as PPV centres, a total of 150 Business Events practitioners had volunteered their time as Business Events (BE) Stewards to ensure the smooth-running of the vaccination programmes at various PPVs. Under the joint-initiative programme of MACEOS and Malaysia Convention and Exhibition Bureau (MyCEB), volunteers took on non-clinical tasks at the PPVs to manage the crowd, ensure physical distancing, record temperatures, and monitor registrations.
To further inspire confidence in the public and support national economic recovery in Business Events, MACEOS launched its Safe Business Events (SafeBE) Certification Programme. The certification, independently audited by Bureau Veritas (M) Sdn Bhd, is awarded to exhibition and convention centres that meet the stringent SOPs regulated by the National Security Council (Majlis Keselamatan Negara — MKN) and recommendations by Malaysia’s health authorities.
Teo said: “Health and safety protocols is a complex process that requires a wealth of skills and experience in various fields. Business Events is witnessing a rapid growth of new health safety ideas, measures, and frameworks from the very simple to the advanced. The SafeBE Certification Programme aims to demonstrate that an international framework is in place to ensure that venue facilities are safe, clean, and certified at the highest standards of health and safety measures to maintain a safe environment, and not just limited to what local authorities may prescribe.”
MACEOS also collaborated with the Malaysian Association of Tour and Travel Agents (MATTA) and the Malaysian Association of Hotels (MAH) to establish Travel Safe Alliance Malaysia (TSAM), an industry-wide safety certification programme. Under the programme, appropriate health and safety procedures and processes in line with globally-recognised best practices are mandated to support a safe travel and business environment during and after the COVID-19 pandemic period.
Teo explained: “The SafeBE Certification Programme is one of the certification programmes of TSAM apart from the MATTA’s Travel Safe Certification Programme and MAH’s Clean & Safe Malaysia Certification Programme. Together, they form a strong foundational assurance for potential international visitors that Malaysia has a comprehensive and well-drawn protocol when it comes to health and safety. With this framework in place, Malaysia will be able to position itself as a safe destination for international business. It will be easier for Malaysia to gain the trust and confidence of international clients and investors.”
He added: “This is especially crucial with Langkawi recently being selected as the pilot project in the Ministry of Tourism, Arts and Culture’s tourism recovery plan known as Covid-19 Free Destination Programme. With mass vaccinations there, Langkawi may be able to reopen in a matter of months. TSAM would be a key part of the tourism industry’s preparedness and reopening success.”
He reiterated: “MACEOS is committed to working together with the Government and other industry players to expedite the vaccination roll-out and facilitate national recovery. We urge all industry players from the private sector to work together with the authorities and Government to ensure a seamless and quick recovery for all.”