Among a series of industry victories coming to fruition this year is the Malaysia Convention & Exhibition Bureau’s successful bid to host Australia’s respected meetings industry conference next year.

BY KRISTIE THONG

Set to be hosted at the Kuala Lumpur Convention Centre (KLCC) from May 15-17 next year, it marks the second time the Meetings & Events Australia (MEA) Annual National Conference is taking place out of Australia, and a first in Southeast Asia. The dates have been selected to precede IMEX Frankfurt, providing a convenient stopover for MEA members attending the tradeshow.

MEA 2014 is expected to draw over 600 business events professionals from Australia, New Zealand, Malaysia and Singapore, and is estimated to generate RM6.4 million (US$2 million) in economic impact for Malaysia.
“This close collaboration is definitely a win-win opportunity for both Australia and Malaysia as it will mutually benefit and boost business opportunities and relationship between both countries, especially in the area of business events industry,” Malaysia Convention & Exhibition Bureau (MyCEB) general manager of sales and marketing, Ho Yoke Ping told micenet ASIA.
Convincing MEA to take its conference offshore had been the main barrier in securing the event, Ms Ho said, but it was “propelled by the fact that MEA on its own had, for some time, the intentions to expand its horizons and relations beyond Australia”.

MEA chief executive officer, Linda Gaunt said, “Choosing Malaysia is very timely as Australia looks to strengthen its trade and economic ties with Asia. Malaysia is certainly an appropriate choice for the MEA 2014 Conference as it has an excellent track record for hosting international conventions.”
The bureau convinced the association that hosting the event in Malaysia would be cost-effective for organisers and would also present value for money for delegates, despite the distance between the two countries.
MyCEB further secured the bid by emphasising that Malaysia possessed the appropriate facilities to accommodate the conference, hosting a site inspection at the KLCC for MEA to showcase its capacity and support.
“The KLCC is a perfect fit with exceptional supporting infrastructure making it very convenient for delegates. It is an excellent platform for the industries of Asia and Australia to engage, collaborate, build business networks and exchange ideas in what is the most dynamic growth region in the world,” Ms Gaunt added.
While details of the promotional campaign have not been finalised, Ms Ho shared that MyCEB will be working closely with MEA to incorporate key messages for the conference.

The theme set for next year, Embracing the Asian Century, will aim to provide a focus on building business relationships between Asia and Australia, while other core topics will be developed by MEA based on membership needs and feedback.
A range of speakers and content from Asia, previously not seen at MEA, will also be introduced at the conference. Additionally, a selection of pre- and post-event tour suggestions for delegates and their partners will be made available, including visits to idyllic tropical isles, ancient rainforests, heritage sites and late-night markets, as well as ample time to sample the country’s great fusion of Asian cuisine.

This comes on the back of the announcement made at the closing ceremony of the MEA Annual Conference this year in Darwin.

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