Tourism Malaysia is targeting the meeting, incentive, conference and events market after recording consistent growth in MICE visitor numbers in recent years. There were an estimated 1.18 million MICE arrivals in 2009, a 150% increase since the opening on the Kuala Lumpur Convention Centre in 2005.
For Australians, Malaysia’s state of the art facilities, value for money, close proximity and stability make it a popular choice. In the first six months of 2010, 2.7% of short term departures from Australia to Malaysia travelled for a conference or meeting, which was stable compared to the same period the previous year.
Kuala Lumpur has also recently leaped five spots to the 22nd position in the latest ICCA International Congress and Convention Association city rankings while Malaysia moved up one position to 32nd in the country rankings.
With a booming industry, product development in Malaysia has been significant. In 2010 no less than five new luxury resort developments will open with a total of 270 rooms. An additional 14 new resorts are planned before 2014.
Shahrin Mokhtar, director Tourism Malaysia Sydney says that Malaysia has maintained its position as a premier MICE destination in what was a challenging time for the overall industry. “Malaysia has been able to capitalise on conference organisers looking for destinations that offer value for money, are close to Australia and still offer attractions with a point of difference,” he said.
Malaysia is consistently ranked as one of the world’s best value for money destinations. This year Malaysia was listed as one of the best value destinations in the world by Lonely Planet and in 2009 Malaysia ranked as the 4th most price competitive country in the world according to the Travel and Tourism Competitive index by the World Economic Forum.
Malaysia has a growing number of venue options for small to large conventions including two well developed conference hubs in the Kuala Lumpur Convention Centre opened in 2005 and the Borneo Convention Centre in Kuching opened in 2009.“Malaysia’s conference hubs are conveniently located in areas with plenty of air capacity and also within easy reach of Malaysia’s amazing tourism attractions. Malaysia offers a huge variety of pre and post touring options. From climbing South East Asia’s tallest mountain in the UNESCO World Heritage Kinabalu National Park, taking the head hunters trail through beautiful Borneo, volunteering in an orang utang or turtle sanctuary or just relaxing in five star luxury along Malaysia beautiful beaches,” said Shahrin.