Positioning Sarawak as a Competitive MICE Destination

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As we are now firmly into the year of the Dragon, the Sarawak Convention Bureau (SCB) plans to continue their streak of success after securing over 50 conventions for Sarawak in 2011. These conventions, when they take place in the coming years, are expected to deliver 96,000 delegate days and bring in over RM59 million in direct delegate expenditures.

Among the major conventions secured in 2011 are the 9th World Congress of Chinese Medicine (2012), WOOMB International Conference (2013), International Hydropower Association (IHA) 2013 World Congress on Advancing Sustainable Hydropower, World Clown Association Convention (2013), and the Asian and Oceanic Society of Regional Anaesthesia and Pain Medicine Congress (AOSRA-PM ) (2013) to name a few.

Since 2006, the Sarawak Convention Bureau (SCB) has won a total of 187 bids, as well as hosting the subsequent conferences and events, which have amounted to a total of RM202,641,587 in direct delegate expenditures.

YB Dato’ Sri Dr Muhd. Leo Michael Toyad Abdullah, Chairman of SCB asserts that, “the success of the Bureau has been essential in the development of Sarawak as a competitive MICE [Meetings, Incentives, Conventions, Exhibitions] destination. Alongside the support of our colleagues in MyCEB (Malaysia Convention & Exhibition Bureau) and industry partners in Sarawak and Peninsular Malaysia, this has helped us to propel further in achieving our aims.”

2011 was an eventful year for the Bureau, and one of the highlights was the launching of the first MICE Journalism Awards ever to be held in the country. This is an award that seeks to recognise and reward outstanding contributions to MICE journalism in Malaysia, and despite it being the event’s inaugural year, over 30 entries from all over the country were received. Winners received a prize worth RM10,000 to fund their travel, accommodation, and registration fees to a conference of their choice, plus RM2,000 in spending money.

Another highlight of the year was the much anticipated Anak Sarawak Appreciation Award (ASAA) held at the Borneo Convention Centre Kuching (BCCK) in November, which carried the theme “Rainforest Magic – Homecoming Warrior.” The Honourable Chief Minister of Sarawak, YAB Pehin Sri Haji Abdul Taib Mahmud, was present to present the awards to the 35 individuals recognised at the lavish ceremony. The venue for the evening was sponsored by BCCK and jointly supported by Pullman Kuching, Four Points by Sheraton, Riverside Majestic Hotel, and Grand Margherita Hotel, all of whom graciously sponsored accommodation for the ASAA recipients.

Last year was also an extra-special one because it marked the Bureau’s fifth anniversary, and was the five-year celebration of the day when SCB became the first convention bureau to be established in Malaysia. In line with the celebrations, SCB launched its new corporate logo and imagery to represent its new tagline “Sarawak -Where Business and Adventure Meet” during the ASAA. The logo depicts a majestic Borneo Hornbill and, like the hornbill, SCB strives to be adventurous and to stand out within the MICE industry. SCB also epitomises the heritage and culture of the people of Sarawak, who are both loyal and truly extraordinary.

Currently in the process of corporate rebranding and revamping, the Bureau have had to bid adieu to Jill Henry, the former CEO of SCB who has returned to Perth, Australia after heading the Bureau for five and a half years. Under her direction, SCB won acclaim for its destination marketing prowess and was recognised worldwide for its best practice, winning nine international awards as well as establishing a base for clients to access government support and assistance.

To add icing to the cake, Henry was the sole recipient of the Johan Bintang Kenyalang – Honorary [JBK (H)] that was presented to her by the Acting Yang di-Pertua Negeri (Head of State) of Sarawak, Datuk Amar Awang Asfia Awang Nasser. This prestigious title is given to foreigners who have rendered exceptional and meritorious service or deeds to the state of Sarawak, the government, and the people, so it was a very special moment. Owing to Henry’s departure, Chew Chang Guan was promoted to the position of General Manager. Previously the Bureau’s Regional Director and a pioneer member in the founding of SCB, Chew will be responsible for overseeing the management of the Bureau and will assume the role of Acting Managing Director.

In April 2012, the Bureau welcomed Mike Cannon, who formerly held the position of Executive Director of the Association of Australian Convention Bureaux (AACB) and has become the Managing Director of SCB. As a man with a wealth of experience and knowledge of the MICE industry in Australia, Cannon will be a great addition to the SCB family.



For more information on the Sarawak Convention Bureau or business events support visit www.sarawakcb.com.

Source: Senses of Malaysia July-Augt 2012
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