DESTINATION OF CHOICE

Malaysia 2016 | TOURISM | PHOTO ESSAY: MICE TOURISM

Strategic positioning of its unique resources and continued investments in development projects are pushing Malaysia to new heights in the world of MICE tourism.

Malaysia is positioned among the top tourist destinations in the world, and with its affordable cost and close proximity to global headquarters on the South-East Asian mainland, it is a regional hub for business tourism. An embodiment of variety, the “Gem of Asia” is as diverse culturally as it is geographically. Though just the 67th largest country by size, it is one of only 17 “mega diverse countries” in the world, highlighting its exceptional concentration of biodiversity. With so much to see in just one place, it is no wonder why tourism was the sixth highest contributor to GDP in 2014 and represents a central pillar of the country's economic diversification strategy.

Business tourism is supported in large part by specialized institutions such as UBM, the largest exhibition organizer in the country. The Malaysia Convention and Exhibitions Bureau (MyCEB) was established with the mandate to grow business tourism, specifically in the area of MICE, by increasing business tourism's share of total arrivals from 5% to 8%; MyCEB secured 152 events in 2014 alone.

Malaysia features traditional aspects of business tourism, such as rafting, all-inclusive beach resorts, caves, diving, and unparalleled golf courses (Malaysia was named Best Golf Destination in Asia by the 2014 World Golf Awards), but plans for sustainable MICE growth are aimed at leveraging the country's most unique resources to match evolving consumers trend in the MICE segment. Corporate planners are now looking for more unique ways to reward their employees with CSR initiatives. Marine life conservation projects, working with underserved populations, experiencing indigenous cultures, and preservation efforts at places like the Rainforest Discovery Center all offer a number of innovative opportunities for meeting these changing demands.

Investment has been a key factor in enabling growth of the MICE sector. Peninsular Malaysia has long benefited from the capital's state-of-the-art facilities, such as the Kuala Lumpur Convention Centre. Development elsewhere, however, has now equipped the rest of the country with the necessary support to benefit from lucrative MICE tourism. Major development projects such as the Kota Kinabalu Waterfront project and the Sabah International Convention Center, together with the success of tourism development companies like Karambunai Corp Bhd in attracting outside investments, all underscore the potental of MICE tourism in Malaysia.From unrivaled developments on the mainland to the world's oldest rainforest on the island of Borneo, Malaysia offers a host of opportunities to meet all needs of the MICE sector.