Malaysia’s Penang government finally succeeded in setting up a convention bureau. The Penang Convention and Exhibition Bureau (PCEB) has been launched to tap into the lucrative business tourism industry that has earned Malaysia RM11.3bn (US$2.53bn) over the last five years.
The new bureau is charged with bringing in more meetings and events to the island state and realises an ambition for a bureau on Penang first attempted in 2013 without success.
“We are in charge of bidding for international events to be held here,” said PCEB chief executive officer G. Ashwin.
Ashwin added that each business tourist spent at least 3.5 times more than a leisure tourist in the region.
According to the national convention bureau MyCEB, business tourists spent RM6.8bn in Malaysia between 2010 and 2015.
Since its formation in 2010 MyCEB has successfully bid for 654 events bringing in 415,616 delegates in five years.
Other events supported by MyCEB, saw a further 1,350 events with a total 692,869 delegates.
The national bureau projects that by 2020, Malaysia’s business events industry will create 16,720 jobs, bring in 2.9m business visitors and record more than RM3.9bn gross national income.
“There are also beyond tourism benefits to this growth such as elevating Malaysia’s profile globally, stimulating the trade and export opportunities, helping Malaysians build a global network and connections and create a lasting legacy for the current and future industry thought leaders in the country,” the bureau said.
Malaysia is relatively new to the MICE industry compared to Singapore and Hong Kong, but the drive to win business is clearly gathering momentum.
PCEB claims it has 37 events confirmed for the next year which would bring in nearly 30,000 delegates.
Penang is the second Malaysian state to set up a convention bureau after Sarawak.