THE World Hospitality, Lifestyle and Entertainment Exhibition and Conference (WHOLE 2020) kicks off at SPICE Convention Centre in Penang today.
It is the first hybrid trade show in the country as it combines a live physical event attended by local industry players with a virtual version for foreign counterparts.
Anita Jacobson, managing director of event organisers Alpine Integrated Solution Sdn Bhd, said there are around 150 booths collectively across both platforms.
The event covers the entire spectrum of the hospitality industry.
It includes accommodation, food and beverage, food technology and equipment, lifestyle and entertainment, travel and tourism, wellness and medical tourism as well as relevant state agencies.
Jacobson expects some 3,000 trade visitors to check out the exhibits both physically and virtually during the three-day event which ends on Sunday.
She said the aim is to boost the domestic tourism market while keeping strong ties with foreign markets as the world gradually recovers from the impact of Covid-19.
The focus will be on B2B (business-to-business) activity es, allowing local players to connect with international counterparts and tap into opportunities through mutually beneficial partnerships.
State tourism, arts, culture and heritage committee chairman Yeoh Soon Hin believes WHOLE 2020 will be a much-needed ‘business rejuvenation’ platform in these challenging economic times.
He noted: “The event could not have been timelier.
“Besides being the first trade event under the recovery movement control order, it is also the first hybrid one to serve the immediate needs of the industry while strictly adhering to the government’s standard operating procedures.
“I look forward to having discussions with all stakeholders to gauge the current state of the industry.
“We will see how we can help boost the tourism and related sectors,” said Yeoh.
Penang Convention and Exhibition Bureau (PCEB) CEO Ashwin Gunasekeran added: “This will act as a potential benchmark for future business events in the new normal.”
Present at the press conference were Tourism Malaysia northern region director Ahmad Husni Ahmad Basri and Ministry of Tourism, Arts and Culture Penang director Jonathan Freddy Bagang.
Key highlights will be the Hotel Pavilion and the Medical Tourism Pavilion plus the State and Agencies Pavilion represented by Perak, Penang, Selangor and the Langkawi Development Authority and MARA.
Among the programmes are dialogue sessions with expert panellists on tourism-related issues which will be broadcast live on the event’s social media platforms.
There will also be live cooking demonstrations online by Malaysian-born international chefs such as Pearly Kee, Norman Musa and Jackie M.
WHOLE 2020 is organised in partnership with the Malaysian Association of Hotels.
It is fully supported by the Ministry of Tourism, Arts and Culture, the Ministry of Agriculture and Food Industries, the Malaysia Tourism Promotion Board (Tourism Malaysia), the Penang government and various other bodies.
Tourism, Arts and Culture Minister Datuk Seri Nancy Shukri is expected to open the event at 2pm today.
WHOLE 2020 is open to trade professionals only for today and tomorrow in the morning.
It will be open to the public starting 2pm tomorrow and all of Sunday.
The virtual exhibition begins today via the link https://wholemy.dreamcast.ae
For further information, visit www.whole.my
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