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M.I.C.E. Venues

 June 22, 2011
Kuala Lumpur Convention Centre Taps North America Market

 With the US retaining its position as the largest investor of foreign direct investments (FDIs) in Malaysia, the country's premier convention facility, the Kuala Lumpur Convention Centre (the Centre) sees enhanced opportunities to tap the vast US meetings industry to grow its conference business.

Speaking at the Malaysia booth during AIBTM 2011, the Americas Meetings & Events Exhibition, Datuk Peter Brokenshire, General Manager, the Kuala Lumpur Convention Centre, said that AIBTM provided an ideal springboard for the Centre's entry into the US market.

"The US and Malaysia enjoy a long-established and cordial relationship; be it government-to-government, business-to-business or people-to-people, and ties that go beyond trade and economic links to cover a host of other areas such as education and tourism, Malaysia remains a relatively new destination for the US meetings industry. With its location at the heart of Southeast Asia, Malaysia offers something new for those off-shore meetings that have done the more established destinations."

According to Brokenshire, in addition to a safe and stable political climate, world-class infrastructure and well-established service and hospitality industry, Malaysia, being a multi-ethnic, multi-cultural and multi-lingual melting pot of Malays, Chinese, Indians and indigenous peoples such as the Orang Asli (aborigines), Dayaks, Ibans and Muruts, offer conference delegates a Kaleidoscope of unique experiences.

"Foreign delegates have a myriad of choices for their pre- or post-conference tours; from exploring 130-million year old rainforests and climbing the 13,435-ft Mount Kinabalu in Sabah, East Malaysia, to heritage and shopping tours whilst enjoying a multi-ethnic cultural and culinary feast in-country."

Malaysia is also one of the most value-for-money destinations for the global meetings industry and "the lower cost of doing business makes it well worth the investment for Meeting Planners, without having to cut costs or compromise on the delegate experience," said Brokenshire.

The World Economic Forum's Travel & Tourism Competitiveness 2011 Report ranked Malaysia 3rd for price competitiveness. Citing the example of a 5-star hotel room which averages about USD167 per night in the federal capital, Kuala Lumpur, Brokenshire said this was between 10 and 70 percent lower than rates offered in neighbouring cities.

Given its large multiplier effect, higher-yield and greater turnover for repeat visitors in terms of contribution to a country's tourism receipts, business tourism has garnered support from the Malaysian government. As part of an Economic Transformation Programme (ETP) that aims to transform the nation into a high income economy by 2020, the government has allocated a USD1.5 million (RM450 million) Subvention Fund to help steer growth in business tourism and contribute to the nation's goal of doubling tourism receipts to USD34.5 million (RM103.5 million) by 2020.

For the strategically located Kuala Lumpur Convention Centre -- the facility is within the Kuala Lumpur City Centre precinct and a component of a 100-acre 'city within a city' development that offers a stimulating environment to work, live, stay, dine, shop and visit - the future is looking even brighter with the forthcoming extension adjacent to the Centre. Targeted for completion by late-2013/early-2014, the extension will boost the Centre's current 20,059 sqm (215,913 sq ft) of flexible function space by a further 10,000 sqm (107,639 sq ft). This in turn, will enable it to host events with over 6,000 delegates and to grow its conference business from the current 25 per cent to a 30 to 40 per cent share of all events.

The Centre also maintains a strong working relationship with "Team Malaysia" partners, comprising Tourism Malaysia, Malaysia Convention and Exhibition Bureau, Malaysia Airlines, Malaysia Airports, Kuala Lumpur City Hall and relevant associations and PCOs (professional conference organisers) to ensure that all bids showcase Malaysian hospitality and quality and efficient service delivery; from travel arrangements and point-of-arrival to event execution, business opportunities and cultural exposure.