The government has allocated RM50 million to boost business tourists to the country for the next two years, a four-fold increase from last year.
Tourism Ministry deputy secretary-general Rashidi Hasbullah said this was in line with the ministry’s target to increase business tourism from five percent (1.2 million) to eight percent (2.9 million) by 2020.
“This is also to place Malaysia as one of the top five business tourism destinations in the Asia Pacific by 2020,” he said when launching the Malaysia Convention & Exhibition Bureau (MyCEB) Industry Partner Programme (IPP).
He said business tourism, which has been identified as one of the Entry Point Projects (EPPs) under the Economic Transformation Programme (ETP), has been targeted to contribute significantly to the overall national Gross Domestic Product (GDP).
Out of the RM50 million allocation, RM25 million was for MyCEB, which was established in 2009, by the ministry to further strengthen Malaysia’s business tourism and position for the international meetings, incentives, conventions and exhibitions, operational programmes and the other RM25 million for subvention support.
“This will significantly improve Malaysia’s position in a highly competitive international market,” he said
Rashidi said last year MyCEB had supported 28 convention bids, representing 38,500 delegates, and an economic value of RM438 million.
“It also assisted 124 meetings and conventions, 16 exhibitions and 49 corporate incentive groups, which contributed an estimated economic impact of RM775 million to Malaysia,” he said.
Meanwhile, MyCEB Chief Executive Officer Zulkefli Sharif said the IPP has been launched to act as a platform to engage with and to encourage cooperation amongst the industry players.
“Becoming an industry partner can be highly advantageous for a local player. Besides enhancing its company profile, the IPP’s wide range of sales and marketing initiatives can help propel companies into the lucrative international business tourism market,” he said.
“Partners will also be privy to vital market intelligence, gain valuable professional networks and be featured in various promotional activities initiated by MyCEB,” he said.
Zulkifli said key highlights of the IPP include business opportunities through cooperative sales and marketing platform under the destination umbrella, access to sales leads and business referrals, professional development opportunities, knowledge, ideas and market intelligence sharing platforms and product development programmes.
He said the IPP is open to Malaysia-based business tourism product and service providers, including venue and accommodation providers, conference and event management companies, transport operators, tour and leisure companies as well as industry associations.