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Business people from all over the world spend a large portion of their time attending conferences and conventions, thus it is easy to imagine many of these events, while enjoyable, ultimately get forgotten.

Sarawak may be more closely associated with tourism than business, but the Sarawak Convention Bureau (SCB) is doing stellar work to spread the word on what a superb location it also is for MICE (meetings, incentives, conferencing, exhibition) delegates, in part thanks to the unique attributes that make the state so popular with visitors.

Since its conception in 2006, SCB have secured more than 187 successful bids, and in 2011 alone their various events and conferences saw 96,000 delegate days and over RM59 million in direct delegate expenditure. What keeps bringing people back for more is the unique approach SCB take to their events, and the fantastic array of options available for those who want to make their MICE event something that delegates will always remember.

TRIBAL WISDOM
The Tribal Wisdom Speaker (TWS) programme is surely the only one of its kind in the world, and a wonderful way in which SCB have utilised the state’s resources to celebrate successes and motivate more to follow.

The SCB has a bank of some of the area’s best public speakers who have all enjoyed success in their field – whether it be business, arts, or politics – and also boast roots in the ethnic tribes of Sarawak. These special people are available to deliver motivational speeches, explaining how their heritage and cultural backgrounds have influenced their lives and ultimately shaped their success.

The programme includes people such as Mary Wan Mering, who currently works as the Principal Assistant Secretary at the Ministry of Tourism and Heritage in Sarawak. She is available to speak about how her Kayan roots and her childhood in the upper Baram river region in Northern Sarawak helped shape her journey. Another inspirational speaker is Larry Sng who became, at 22, Sarawak’s youngest politician, and spent his early years upriver in the town of Kapit. These are just two among many with similarly absorbing stories, and they can bring a motivational talk like no other. This is a great way to celebrate the ethnic culture of Sarawak without the ubiquitous cultural dances or blowpipe displays that delight so many tourists.

THEME PARTIES
When delegates spend all day concentrating and engaging with the business at hand, the evenings should be about having fun, and SCB have a whole range of theme parties that make for lively evenings and perfect opportunities for networking.

Some of the theme parties draw on the unique assets and cultural intrigues of Sarawak and Malaysia, with one such party treating delegates to a Headhunter evening in an Iban longhouse, complete with dancing maidens, traditional ceremonies, and ample glasses of traditional rice wine. Sarawak’s colonial heritage is another option for a party theme, and the White Rajah evenings are hosted at one of the many colonial houses along the banks of the river, where a brass band entertains guests and a British dinner party gets underway.

For the more internationally-minded, such parties as an Oscars night – complete with little gold awards – or a swish James Bond style event will ensure that the conference or meeting ends on a high note and leaves delegates with a lasting impression of the people and the place.

GIVING SOMETHING BACK
Having a memorable MICE event doesn’t necessarily have to be pure pleasure, and those looking to combine meaningful encounters with networking events will be interested to hear of SCB’s Corporate Social Responsibility programmes that feature adventurous days with a difference.

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Thanks to Sarawak’s amazing diversity, the surroundings offer opportunity to do something for the natural world and, as Borneo is renowned for its orang utans, what could be more memorable than a day spent at the Matang Wildlife Centre getting close to these extraordinary creatures?

There are also opportunities to help the local people by getting involved in projects such as buildings schools, clinics, or homes for those less fortunate in some of the ethnic communities, ensuring delegates glean something meaningful from their trip to Sarawak.

MAKING MEMORIES
Sarawak offers so much to anyone who visits this fascinating area, whether they be tourists, business delegates, or returning locals, and it is an ideal location for a MICE event that will linger longer in the minds of those that attend.

Sarawak Convention Bureau is doing sterling work to promote the fantastic benefits of a MICE event held in the state, and for an event like no other, there can surely be no other place to turn.
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For more details on the services of SCB and the various opportunities available, visit www.sarawakcb.com.

This article was written by Elizabeth Perry  for Senses of Malaysia.
Source: Senses of Malaysia Sept-Oct 2012

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