“Malaysia is fast emerging as one of the top destinations in the world for Meetings, Conventions, Incentives and Exhibitions (MICE). The country ranks 23rd in the world, based on the International Congress and Convention Association’s statistical preview of association meetings held in 2006, up 10 spots from the previous year. Malaysia is banking on its top-notch convention centres, quality accommodation, value-added services and many other attractions to propel itself into the top ten.” (Visitors Guide Malaysia c.2008, p.1)
“Statistics-wise, total conference arrivals in 2007 was 1,000,000 or 4.8% of tourist arrivals, compared to 820,000 in 2006.” (Visitors Guide Malaysia c.2008, p.1) Malaysia is now set to capture a greater share of the international MICE market to represent at least 10% of arrivals to the country. The country is well-prepared to accommodate the anticipated growth in conference arrivals. “The number of hotels has increased to approximately 2,400 in 2007 from 1,090 in 1993, with Malaysia’s capital Kuala Lumpur alone having over 20,000 hotel rooms in the three to five-star categories.” (Visitors Guide Malaysia c.2008, p.1) However, Allen et al. (2008, p.16) explained that MICE industry is another long established component of the industry, now often called business events. This sector is largely characterized by its business and trade focus, although there is a strong public and tourism aspect to many of it’s activities. In Malaysia, the MICE industry faces a lot of challenges and has a lot of opportunities than meets the eye.
The challenges that the industry face often come from threats. “Threats are activities that prevent you from maximizing the potential of an event. The most obvious threat is weather; however, political threats may just be as devastating. Local political leaders must buy into your event to ensure cooperation with all agencies. Political infighting may quickly destroy your planning.” (Goldblatt 2008, p.45) As said above, weather is one of the very important criteria that many people will need to face. However, in Malaysia, we do not suffer from the problem of the weather as the geographical condition is only hot and wet throughout the year. Malaysia definitely had suffered small political threats, some small parties may just be dissatisfied with the government and begin a demonstration in the public. International delegates who received these news will avoid to attend/organize any meetings in that certain country.
“A modern threat is that of terrorism. The threat of violence erupting at an event may keep people from attending.” (Goldblatt 2008, p.45) Terrorism is one of many issues that all countries had faced, that included Malaysia too. If we were to be an attraction area for MICE, the chances are that we will be targeted by terrorists. The impact of terrorism will not only bring chaos to the country, but also will cause the international delegates to lose trust and security in that country.
Also, Malaysia is always in fear for other new destinations that are better. These new destinations may have their unique selling point where Malaysia does not have. Our country as MICE’s gathering can just be easily replaced if the delegates find the attractiveness and strengths of new but better destinations. Not only on that, Malaysia is in huge jeopardy as the country does not provide top quality sources that international delegates might just want. “The National Business Events Study (NBES) conducted by the Sustainable Tourism CRC, based on data gathered in 2003, identified 316,000 events in Australia with 22.8 million participants, a total expenditure of $17.3 billion. Average expenditure of international delegates was $3526 per total trip and $554 per day – six times that of the average tourist.” (Allen et al. 2008, pp.16-17) Of course, this is only the MICE impact to Australia, how about those...