HEART OF THE COUNTRY

Malaysia 2017 | TOURISM | INTERVIEW

TBY talks to Tuan Syamsani Tuan Mansor, COO of the Putrajaya International Convention Centre (PICC), on the growing MICE segment, working to increase the exposure of the center, and plans for the future.

Tuan Syamsani Tuan Mansor
BIOGRAPHY
Tuan Syamsani Tuan Mansor has more than 20 years of experience in the hospitality and tourism industry. He has served corporate- and government-linked companies including Menara Kuala Lumpur, Marditech Corporation, Express Rail Link, HICOM Leisure Berhad, Primula Resorts Management, and several others. From 2010 until 2012, he was on the board of advisory for Hospitality & Tourism Faculty of Universiti Tun Abdul Razak. He has a degree in international hospitality and tourism management from University of Surrey, UK, and a diploma in hotel and catering management from the MARA Institute of Technology, Shah Alam.

What is the current distribution of events in the public and private domains?

Previously around 80% of our business came from the government. However, corporate events have been slowly increasing since 2014. We win most of the government bids, and now the percentage has changed. Currently, government business caters to about 40% of all events and corporate business 60%. People often see PICC as a venue for official government events and might shy away from doing event at the center. However, our public center facility can be reserved by anyone on a first-come, first-served basis. As of 2015, 45% events done at PICC are business events from the MICE segment and 55% are from non-MICE. The rest are from entertainment events such as dinners, weddings, F&B arrangements from travel & tours, and so on. However, in terms of yield management, the MICE business segment gives a higher yield income of 80%. PICC believes that the MICE business will grow significantly in 2017 and beyond. Clients come to us to have their weddings as we have the biggest banquet capacity in Malaysia, and these can go up to 3,000 people at Perdana Ballroom and 1,500 people at Putra Hall. We have more than 20 super weddings a year now mainly from rich and famous Malaysian families.

How have you advanced your plans to internationalize your client base?

We anticipate doubling our international events. We actively take part in international trade shows and road shows organized by the Malaysia Convention & Exhibition Bureau (MyCEB), Tourism Malaysia, and Perbadanan Putrajaya to tap into the international market. We select destinations that can give PICC and Putrajaya greater exposure. PICC works to convince event and meeting planners including professional event organizers, destination management consultants, and so on that PICC and Putrajaya are capable of hosting their events. We are specifically 3Cs: convention, conference, and congress based, and that makes us different from other venues. PICC can have a maximum of 500 booths over the three levels of the building and at one time we can have 15,000 people having their events, programs, and activities. We have a combination of large halls for convention and congress sessions and large number of smaller venues for breakout sessions. The center was the brainchild of former Prime Minister Tun Dr. Mahathir, who envisioned having this large venue in close proximity to the governmental center of Putrajaya. We also actively involved in international bidding since 2015 through International Congress and Convention Association (ICCA).

How does Putrajaya cater to the hospitality needs of large international conferences?

There are more than 2,000 hotel rooms within a 30km radius of PICC and Putrajaya. In addition to that, with the new mandate on managing Putrajaya Shangri-La Hotel, a five-star hotel with 118 rooms, it gives us more opportunity to win business bidding in the future. Indeed, with our ambitious internationalization agenda, we intend to develop more hotels in Putrajaya. Hailed as the “Intelligent Garden City," Putrajaya is the futuristic administrative capital of the country. We can proudly say that Putrajaya is a symbol of Malaysia's dynamism and progress.

What are your ambitions for the years to come?

Our key goal is to brand ourselves as a convention center for all events, and not just government-related ones. Linking to that, tapping into the global market of events is our second goal. Other than that, we remain focused on the type of events that we are competitive in and prepare our bids accordingly. Maintaining good rapport with other local convention centers is also important to make Malaysia a relevant destination for international events. We would also like to see more signature events and to keep up good relations with clients that already come on by annual basis. Maintaining PICC as a premier venue for MICE business events is our mission and objective to be achieved in the next five years.