Malaysia seeks bigger chunk of $30bn MICE pie

MRIDULA BHATTACHARYA reports from Global Meet Malaysia on the country’s plans to raise marketshare from its current two per cent
The rain forest provides an ideal backdrop for incentives

MALAYSIA is set to capture a greater share of the international MICE market and MICE will represent at least 10 per cent market share of the arrivals to the country.

In order to achieve this, new convention centres and hotels have come on stream while others are in various stages of construction. In addition, 20 per cent of the Malaysian Tourism Ministry’s $60.17 million advertising and promotional budget for next year will be earmarked for MICE promotions, according to the Tourism Minister, Datuk Seri Tengku Adnan Tengku Mansor. He was speaking to the Press after the opening of Global Meet Malaysia 2006.
The minister said Malaysia has witnessed a remarkable increase in MICE arrivals over the past few years. In 2004, the country hosted 2,875 international MICE-related events registering 675,699 foreign delegate arrivals, an increase of 22.6 per cent over the previous year. Last year it hosted 3,222 events (12.1 percent increase over 2004) with the number of foreign delegate arrivals surging by 14.4 per cent at 773,175.
According to statistics for the first four months of this year, there were 288,098 conference arrivals against 258,602 in 2005, showing an increase of 11.4 per cent.
Tourist arrivals from January to June this year were 8.5 million, a 4.9 per cent increase from last year’s figure of 8.1 million for the same period.
The number of hotels in Malaysia has also increased from 1,090 in 1993 to 2,269 in 2005. Many of them have meeting and conference facilities. The average hotel occupancy is between 60 and 70 per cent and the country is in a position to cope with any sudden increase in tourist arrivals in the immediate future.
The country’s popularity as a choice MICE destination is demonstrated through the successful conclusion of international summits such as ASEAN Tourism Forum 2005, PATA Travel Mart 2005, Commonwealth Travel Mart 2004, the 13th Non-Aligned Movement Conference in 2003, the 10th Organisation of Islamic Conference 2003 and Islamic Conference of Foreign Ministers.
Malaysia is also due to host several important conferences and exhibitions including the 18th FIGO World Congress of International Gynaecology Obstetrics 2006, Air Cargo Forum 2008, World Congress on Information Technology 2008 and World Gas Conference 2012
“But a lot more can be done as our research shows the worldwide MICE market is worth $30 billion a year and our share is about half a billion,” the Minister said. “We are looking at increasing our share to $1 billion and we have the supporting infrastructure to cope with an increase in MICE arrivals.
“We are working out attractive packages to get more people to visit our country. We also have Meet and Experience campaign, specifically designed to showcase Malaysia’s attraction as a top venue for Mice. This campaign, combining the resources of Tourism Malaysia, the government and Mice industry partners, is being continued in 2007.
“With the launch of Visit Malaysia Year 2007 campaign, we have lined up a series of activities and programmes to usher in the important event – 2007 marks the 50th anniversary of Malaysia’s Independence.  We would be offering the latest products and incentives to event organizers at special prices,” he adds.
In its fourth year, Global Meet Malaysia 2006 was organised by the Ministry of Tourism and Tourism Malaysia in collaboration with Malaysia Airlines. The event was held last month at Putrajaya International Convention Centre, another state-of-the-art facility developed for Mice industry, to showcase the country's many attractions and attributes as a Mice destination. Over 102 buyers from 27 countries and 100 Malaysian MICE suppliers attended the meet. The location of this facility amidst the natural environment complemented well the theme chosen for this year’s Global Meet – Truly Nature.