Sarawak business events sector needs more push, says Abdul Karim

Datuk Abdul Karim Rahman Hamzah

By Geryl Ogilvy

KUCHING, March 20: The business events sector must be further developed as it is still an important contributor to the state’s tourism’s growth.

Minister of Tourism, Arts, Culture, Youth and Sports Datuk Abdul Karim Rahman Hamzah said tourism players and stakeholders needed to focus on the development of business events as it would also have an enormous impact on nation-building.

As in September last year, the state’s business events industry accumulated more than RM645 million worth of economic value to the state.

Since the establishment of the Sarawak Convention Bureau (SCB), the state has brought in about 750 business events, equivalent to 286,000 delegates and 958,000 delegate days.

“There are tangible impacts from all of these initiatives, which include the transfer of knowledge from experts to local (tourism) champions, trade opportunities, expansion of global alliances and the list goes on.

“These are just some legacies of business events, which affect so many sectors, including medicine, education, technology, science and other advanced industries,” he said at the `Business Events Sarawak — Tribal Gathering’ forum here today.

His text-of-speech was read out by Assistant Minister of Tourism, Arts and Culture Datuk Lee Kim Shin.

Abdul Karim said the state government was committed to attracting more business events to Sarawak, bidding for more meetings, incentives, conventions and exhibitions (MICE market) that will bring positive impact to the local people and the economy.

On the forum, he reckoned that the strategic and tactical planning derived from the conference would be a useful guideline for all tourism players and stakeholders to align their business plans and programmes to grow the business events sector.

He said the state must realise the common aspirations to be a successful role model for the second- and third-tier business events destinations worldwide.

“Together, we are capable of transforming this sector, and we must believe that by working together, we can give Sarawak the better competitive edge and further develop this sector into one of the drivers of positive (economic) transformation,” he continued.

Abdul Karim said since the launching of Visit Sarawak Campaign on Dec 31 last year, the state tourism ministry, with the support of relevant government agencies, had been aggressively supporting a long list of events and activities.

The state also partnered with Business Events Sarawak (BESarawak) — a special campaign organised by SCB — to promote the business events market through the `Redefining Global Tribes Campaign 2017’.

“In fact, we are targeting five million tourists, inclusive of business events delegates. And there are strong indications that the target is achievable, especially with the strong support from our stakeholders and supporters from the various industries concerned,” he said.

The forum also served as a platform for BESarawak to share its 2019-2020 strategic and tactical planning, as the organisation (SCB) entered its fourth year into completing a five-year business plan 2016-2020. — DayakDaily