Malaysia leaped a notable three spots to the 28th position in the latest ICCA, International Congress and Convention Association country rankings. The number of meetings hosted grew 24 percent, from 96 meetings (2009) to 119 meetings (2010). Malaysia retained its position as one of the top 10 meeting destination in Asia Pacific.
Malaysia’s ranking was assisted by an additional seven international meetings held in Kuala Lumpur, from 72 in 2009 to 79 in 2010. The largest meeting held during 2010 was the 18th World Congress of Accountants which attracted a record attendance of over 6,000 delegates.
Commenting on the achievement, Mr Zulkefli Hj Sharif, Chief Executive Officer, Malaysia Convention & Exhibition Bureau (MyCEB) said, “The latest ICCA rankings reflect a growth in Malaysia’s association meetings business amidst a competitive and challenging market.
“Malaysia’s promising increase in number of meetings and improved in rankings to date is a clear testament of the growing strength of the collaboration and commitment between the Ministry of Tourism, MyCEB and the various industry partners to bid for, secure and deliver successful international meetings for the country,” Mr Zulkefli said.
In 2010, Malaysia welcomed 1.3 million international business event visitors, contributing an estimated EUR4 billion (RM17.6 billion, USD6 billion, AUD5.4 billion) in economic impact. The meetings hosted include the Asian Pacific Digestive Week (2,661 delegates), 6th World Islamic Economic Forum (2,000 delegates) and the 2nd Global Model United Nations Conference (1,000 delegates).
Mr Zulkefli explained, “Within the next five years, the business tourism industry will be further supported by new facilities which offer international and regional associations and meeting planners more venue options to host their meetings and events in Malaysia which could now rotate to other parts of the country such as Pahang, Penang, Sarawak as well as Kuala Lumpur.”
Key developments in the pipeline include the expansion of the Kuala Lumpur Convention Centre by an additional 10,000 sqm by end-2013, the Penang International Convention and Exhibition Center by 2014 and the proposed development of the MATRADE Centre (93,000 sqm) by 2014.
Other new infrastructure to support the growing industry include the upcoming Kuala Lumpur International Airport (KLIA) 2, an integrated urban mass rapid transit (MRT) system and the construction of a series of pedestrian walkways throughout the capital city as part of the Greater Kuala Lumpur plan.