AS THE nation braces itself for the long-awaited announcement on interstate travels, the government should also consider restarting travel for business-related events - meetings, incentives, conferences and exhibitions (MICE) - to attract local and foreign investment and drive the nation’s economic revival.
The pilot travel bubble for tourism in Langkawi has been quite successful since its launch; and MICE events could implement the same concept. By extending the scope to foreign countries, business delegates can visit Malaysia for these events at a very low risk.
Before the Covid-19 pandemic struck, MICE tourism was one of the largest growing industries. Exhibitions alone generated close to RM30mil of the national GDP in 2019. Furthermore, these events create a tonne of job opportunities through the stimulation of related sectors such as tourism, hoteliers, food and beverage, transport, and other services.
Since the creative arts industry – cinemas, art exhibits, museums are now open under strict adherence to standard operating procedures (SOPs), business events should also be restarted to stimulate the nation’s economy.
According to statistics, Malaysia’s MICE industry attracted a total of 111,298 delegates to 153 events that had generated RM1.053bil in 2016.
It was predicted that if the pandemic did not happen in 2020, the MICE industry could net RM3.3bil and create 16,700 job opportunities.
With more work done on improving the existing SOPs, both the tourism industry and the MICE industry can operate smoothly and help the nation progress forward in the national recovery plan.
Some 90% of the nation’s adult population is expected to complete Covid-19 vaccination by the beginning of November.
The government should consider restarting the MICE industry in step with reopening interstate travels to stimulate the economic industry.
DATUK NICOLE WONG
MCA Youth Chairman