Press Room

Venues an Important Infrastructure Asset in the National Economic Recovery of the Country – Business Events Council Malaysia

By | 2021

Business Events Council Malaysia chairman Alan Pryor, has urged the Malaysian government to continue active engagement with the business events industry to revive the Business Events sector in the economic recovery of the country.

“As the collective voice of the Malaysia BE industry, we are actively reaching out to the government, to maintain a more consistent communication channel, to discuss how venues and the industry can help the government rehabilitate the country’s economy. 2020 was a tragic year, for the industry and it continues to be so as the industry is unable to operate in line with government restrictions. Finally with vaccines coming within reach, giving way to herd immunity, potentially allowing us to put the uncertainties behind us, the pent up demand for meetings, conferences and business events will supersede the supply,” said the chairman.

Pryor further elaborated, in a 2018 report by the Malaysia Convention and Exhibitions Bureau, the Business Events industry was expected to contribute RM3.9 billion in the incremental of Gross National Income (GNI), thus providing about 16,700 jobs, by 2020.

According to a press release by the Kuala Lumpur Convention Centre, in 2019 alone, the purpose-built venue conducted over 1,500 meetings and events welcoming over one million delegates and visitors generating, an estimated economic impact of almost RM 1 billion.

Meetings and events were allowed to operate in the country for a few short months in 2020 which saw, the development of a comprehensive new norm standard operating procedures which was, successful executed at events through strict enforcement of the health and safety guidelines with venues investing in innovation and creation to expand their product and service range to diversify business revenue. This stated in the press release, is before the nation retreated into yet another strict lockdown restricting inter-state travel and banning meetings and gatherings right into 2021 which, dampened all efforts, pushing the industry supply chain, into further dire conditions with a constant struggle for survival.

The venue sector in Malaysia provides employment by the thousands as a primary player in the supply chain. Closures of venues have impacted heavily on the rest of the supply chain, from hotels, destination management companies and tour operators to stand builders, contractors, retail, local produce suppliers and part-time employment. This has had a major ramification on the overall revenue contribution to the national economy of the country generated through the business events supply chain.


Resort Provides Land to Feed Rescued Elephants in Koh Samui

By | 2021

The elephant sanctuary, Samui Elephant Haven is struggling to feed its herd of 21 elephants in the wake of the dramatic downturn in tourist numbers to the island due the pandemic.

As a result of which, Samui Elephant Haven is spending funds previously allocated for land rental to feed its herd, prompting fears it will be unable to continue leasing the land and be forced to displace the elephants.

A land was provided by Meliá resort which opened in Koh Samui early January this year for a community farm, to help feed the elephants rescued from exploitation activities. The farm is located some 200 metres from the resort on the north-eastern tip of Koh Samui island and can support 200 banana trees and other elephant fodder such as Napier and sweet grass.

“These magnificent animals need to eat 10 percent of their body weight in food daily, which is up to 400 kiligramme per elephant,” said the resort’s general manager, Ernesto Osuna.

He added with the sanctuary trying to survive on only five percent of the funding necessary, its herd has been getting only a fraction of its normal food intake.

In the meantime, to educate guests about the plight of the rescued elephants and encourage them to visit and support the sanctuary, Meliá Koh Samui has unveiled an elephant mascot Coco, to provide information about the Haven, as well as a host for educational activities about the elephants at the resort’s kids club Kidsdom.

The sanctuary which opened in 2018 is a safe harbour for elephants that had been put to work on tourist treks, who has been as show animals and in the logging industry. At the Haven, they are free to roam the 10-hectare sanctuary, to play, forage for native plants and bathe in various pools.

To contact Samui Elephant Haven and make a donation, please visit, call +66 95 628 6160 or email

Images are by Samui Elephant Haven.

Melbourne Convention Bureau Expands Digital Presence in China

By | 2021

MCB has launched new in-language content in its website, specifically translated for Chinese MICE professionals.  Through the website together with China’s video hosting service YouKu and WeChat, MCB aims to engage with its Chinese clients.

“Whilst they may not be able to travel now, the appeal of Melbourne and Australia to the Chinese planners remains high. These assets, in conjunction with our in-market team and our regular Event Planner webinars will enable the bureau to strengthen existing connections, create new and meaningful relationships, and future business opportunities,” said the bureau’s chief executive officer Julia Swanson.

Chinese speaking decision makers, influencers and planners can also communicate directly with MCB’s local team in Shanghai through WeChat.

China is the top visitor market for MICE groups to Victoria. Over the five years before the covid-19, MCB welcomed 23,000 delegates from Chinese MICE groups to Melbourne –  injecting AUD100 million in economic contributions to the Victorian visitor economy.

The new in-language website and presence on WeChat and YouKu boast the content of the website from information about MCB and its services, local knowledge to support planning a business event in the destination, sample of incentive programmes, case-studies of successful programmes to the latest news on Melbourne’s incentive travel and business events.

A Fashion Show with a Difference – Glass Maze was Set Up for FENDI’s Spring Summer 2021 Haute Couture Collection

By | 2021

Event organisers have to think outside the box to create captivating shows and still follow safety measures during these times of covid-19. Bureau Betak, a special events company for luxury fashion designed instead inside a box of glass maze for models to walk through an arrangement of glass cases shaped, in FENDI’s famous double-F monogram.

FENDI’s digital fashion show of its haute couture collection of spring summer 2021 was streamlined live from Palais Brongniart in Paris on January 27.

Images are by Bureau Betak.

The glass labyrinth of the show were designed to look romantic and mysterious. Despite the usual coldness of glass, the designers created an overall warm atmosphere with beds of wildflowers, small trees and the odd bookcase.

Neon lights line both the runway and the tops of the cases, were illuminated with an all-star cast of models. While reflections on the glass added a dreamy and mystical touch of FENDI’s haute couture spring summer 2021 collection.

It was also a show to mark the artistic director Kim Jones’ debut for FENDI haute couture and to reflect, the English fashion designer’s vision of a romantic and mysterious look.

Monaco Making a Gradual Economic Recovery – Revives MICE in the Principality

By | 2021

The Principality’s convention bureau had seen some changes in its management just prior to the pandemic, with Christine Barrabino now heading the bureau and Sarah Rico as the deputy manager. Sandrine Camia, the former head of the bureau, has been made Monaco’s deputy director of Monaco Tourism and Convention Authority.


MICE in Asia had the opportunity to talk to Christine Barrabino, on the reopening of the country to visitors, how it will recover from the covid-19 pandemic, and thrive again as a destination for meetings and conferences.

Christine Barrabino, Head of Monaco Convention Bureau (right)  with Sarah Rico, Deputy Manager (left) of the new management team.

Hopes of recovery for Monaco, according to Ms. Barrabino, will come by the second quarter of 2021.   The rebound on travel will start from the local markets of the Principality, namely France and Italy, since most European and international borders are not opened as yet with travel requirements remaining strict.

All sectors in the Principality have resumed their activities, while restaurants, hotels, conference centres and MICE agencies were very much affected by the travel bans.  However, the real estate sector in Monaco has seen an increase in activity despite the pandemic.

Head of the Monaco Convention Bureau further explained that currently all partners of the bureau, from conference centres and hotels, to destination management companies, are rethinking their business model to incorporate security assurances expected by clients and organisers. The Monegasque Government has implemented, since last July; the Monaco Safe certification for hotels, restaurants, conference centres and all other premises opened to the public in the Principality.

The shift now, stated Ms. Barrabino, is to meet the needs of customers through the quality of value exchanged.  It will require, she mentioned, inventiveness, innovation, and a focus on intellectual assets, flexibility and the optimising of transport and spaces with regard to corporate social responsibility policies. This shift in thinking is also crucial she added, for the success of the global events industry.

Last December, the Monaco Convention Bureau launched its new communication campaign with the slogan #Reevent at the IBTM World’s first virtual event. It invites MICE professionals to return to the Principality and organise events. The campaign displays six visuals related to the themes of: safety, value, service, green, medical and connectivity

Monaco is expected to welcome large events again from April 2021, and the Principality’s MICE agenda is packed in the autumn, due to the postponements of events initially scheduled for 2020.

Ms. Barrabino figures that 2022 should bring back mainly European clients and a return to normal by 2023, when intercontinental flights would have regained a decent level of activity.


Image of the view of Monaco is by VisitMonaco.
Image of Christine Barrabino and Sarah Rico © Government Press Office – Manuel Vitali




AIME 2021 Cancelled Due to Implications of COVID-19

By | 2021

 Asia Pacific Incentives and Meetings Event (AIME) has announced today (January 25) that the event, as well as the online in March,  will not take place this year owing to concerns brought about by the covid-19 pandemic. It was scheduled to be hosted at the Melbourne Convention and Exhibition Centre

Event organisers Talk2 Media & Events have shared that: the event faced challenges brought about by international and domestic travel restrictions; despite healthy interest for the event from exhibitors and buyers.

“As the past year has shown, it’s difficult to predict if border closures will be required to slow the spread of future outbreaks.  As difficult as it is to cancel, we cannot in good conscience stage an event that devalues the quality of experience or accessibility of AIME in delivering meaningful interactions for exhibitors and visitors, alongside subsequent appointments with our international networks,” said Matt Pearce, chief executive officer of Talk2 Media & Events.

AIME, with the support from Melbourne Convention Bureau has begun, contacting all buyers and exhibitors to update them on the latest development and assist in managing arrangements of the cancellation of the event.  This includes refunding money to those who have already registered.

AIME’s next event will take place on March 21 to 23, 2022 with full details to follow in the coming months. For those with existing bookings and registrations, a Talk2 Media representative will contact them directly and, for any immediate queries, please email or visit

IAAPA Expo Asia 2021 Moves to Shanghai

By | 2021

The global association for the attractions industry announced the IAAPA Expo Asia 2021 will take place at the Shanghai New International Expo Centre from August 10 to 13. It was originally planned to be held in Macao in June.  The relocation and date change, are in response to the continued impact of the global COVID-19 pandemic, and the growing optimism of increased recovery as the year progresses stated the attractions industry global association.

“IAAPA’s role has always been to help members meet, do business, and learn from each other. It is more important than ever we provide such opportunities in a safe manner, at the right time, in the right location. After careful review and with significant input from our team, members, exhibitors, and the IAAPA Board of Directors, the decision has been made to relocate IAAPA Expo Asia 2021 to Shanghai, China,” shared Hal McEvoy, president and chief executive officer of IAAPA.

Plans are also underway to ensure a smooth transition of the show to SNIEC. This year’s expo will begin with a full conference day on Tuesday, August 10 followed by, three days of programming featuring trade show floor, education programs and exclusive special events.

During IAAPA Expo Asia the show, will follow safety guidelines and operational procedures recommended by global and local health authorities as well as, event industry experts.

Fire Destroys The Andaman, a Marriot Luxury Collection Resort in Langkawi

By | 2021

The property which caught fire twice was said to have started in the kitchen of the resort and spread to the main building.  Fire gutted part of the five-star Andaman Resort in Langkawi. It was reported that all guests and staff, were evacuated from the hotel safely. Flames of the fires were contained after 12 hours by the local fire department, which also saved the centuries old tropical rainforest surrounding the vicinity of the resort from being ravaged by the fire.

Owning company of the resort, Landmarks Bhd confirmed that the fire incident took place on January 12, and that the resort will cease operation for safety reasons as well as, to ascertain the extent of the damage to the property.

“The financial impact of the fire has yet to be fully ascertained. Any property and financial losses arising from this incident are covered by insurance policies taken up by the company,” Landmarks said.

It was also reported that Landmarks Bhd has formed a committee to evaluate the rebuilding of the resort and repositioning plan for The Andaman. Discussions to this effect was said to have begun with renowned luxury hotel designer Jean-Michel Gathy who will advice the owning company.

In the meantime The Andaman Langkawi will remain closed.

Singapore to Host the Special Annual Meeting of the World Economic Forum

By | 2021

The global meeting of top decision makers from business and government to civil society will take place from May 13 to 16 in Singapore which makes it, the second time the forum held its annual meeting outside Switzerland since its establishment in 1971.

In 2002, it was held in New York to show solidarity after the 9/11 attack and this time, due to the pandemic in Europe, the forum has chosen to hold its annual meeting in Singapore. The forum however, will return to its home in Davos-Klosters, Switzerland for the Annual Meeting of 2022.

Considered among the most important meetings in the world, it will be hybrid in nature with most participants joining virtually.  The annual meeting is also the first global event to address worldwide recovery from the pandemic.

In a statement from the Ministry of Trade and Industry of Singapore, the WEF will adhere to the city-state’s strict public health protocol and safety measures during the annual meeting where head of states, global business leaders and community activists are expected to attend to solve the world’s challenges.

“A global leadership summit is of crucial importance to address how we can recover together,” said Klaus Schwab, founder and executive chairman of World Economic Forum.


British Super-Model Naomi Campbell Appointed Magical Kenya International Ambassador

By | 2021

The Ministry of Tourism and Wildlife of Kenya, has announced English supermodel Naomi Campbell to become Magical Kenya International Ambassador.

In a statement, the Ministry says Campbell, 50, will help promote the marketing of Kenya as an ideal tourism and travel destination to the world. The appointment was agreed upon following a meeting between Campbell and Najib Balala, the Cabinet Secretary of the ministry.

Commenting on her appointment: Campbell commended the government for the improvement of infrastructure at the Coast including the upgrading of Malindi Airport to international standards.

Meanwhile, the Kenya Tourism Board (KTB) is working on long term collaboration with athletes to position Kenya on top of mind among visitors and investors into the country.

KTB’s chief executive officer Dr Betty Radier stated that athletes have continued to positively profile the country with their sterling performances in international competitions.

“Even at these times of less travel globally as a result of covid-19 pandemic, Kenya continues to be top of mind among travellers and investors alike because of our athletes who excel in international competition,” said Radier.