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Positioning Sarawak as a competitive MICE Destination

Sarawak Convention BureauThe Sarawak Convention Bureau (SCB) has proven to maintain their successive streak in securing over 50 conventions to Sarawak. These conventions are expected to deliver 96,000 delegate days and over RM 59 million ($19.2 million) in direct delegate expenditure.

Among the major conventions secured in 2011 is the 9th World Congress of Chinese Medicine (2012), WOOMB International Conference (2013), International Hydropower Association (IHA) 2013 World Congress on Advancing Sustainable Hydropower, World Clown Association Convention (2013), and the Asian and Oceanic Society of Regional Anesthesia and Pain Medicine Congress (AOSRA-PM 2013), to name a few.

Since 2006, the Sarawak Convention Bureau (SCB) has secured a total number of 187 bid wins, amounting to a total of RM 202 million ($66 million) in direct delegate expenditure.

“The success of the Bureau has been essential in the development of Sarawak as a competitive MICE destination,” said YB Dato’ Sri Dr Muhd. Leo Michael Toyad Abdullah, chairman of SCB. “Not to mention, the support of our colleagues in MyCEB (Malaysia Convention & Exhibition Bureau) and industry partners in Sarawak and Peninsular Malaysia has helped us to propel further in achieving these results.”

2011 was an eventful year for the Bureau. Launching the first-ever Malaysia MICE Journalism Award, the award recognizes and rewards outstanding contributions to MICE journalism in Malaysia. In the first year of its inception, the Bureau received over 30 entries from all over the country. Winners received a prize worth RM 10,000 ($3,250) to fund their travel, accommodation and registration fees to a conference of their choice, and RM 2,000 ($650) in spending money.

Another highlight of the year was the much anticipated Anak Sarawak Appreciation Award (ASAA) that was held at the Borneo Convention Centre Kuching (BCCK) with the theme “Rainforest Magic- Homecoming Warrior” in November. The Honourable Chief Minister of Sarawak, YAB Pehin Sri Haji Abdul Taib Mahmud, was present to award the 35 individuals that night in a lavish ceremony sponsored by BCCK and jointly supported by Pullman Kuching, Four Points by Sheraton, Riverside Majestic Hotel and Grand Margherita Hotel, who graciously hosted accommodation for the ASAA recipients.

In line with the Bureau’s 5th year anniversary as the first convention bureau to be established in Malaysia, SCB launched its new corporate logo and imagery to represent its new tagline, “Sarawak- Where Business and Adventure Meet” during the Anak Sarawak Appreciation Awards. The logo depicts the image of the majestic Borneo Hornbill, and like the hornbill, SCB strives to be adventurous and to stand out within the MICE industry. It also epitomizes the heritage and culture of the people of Sarawak who are both loyal and truly extraordinary.

In the process of corporate rebranding and revamping, the Bureau have had to bid adieu to Jill Henry, CEO of SCB who has returned to Perth, Australia, after heading the Bureau for 5 ½ years. Under her direction, SCB had won acclaim for its destination marketing prowess recognized as worldwide best practice winning nine international awards, as well as establishing a solid base for clients to access government support and industry assistance.

Henry was also the sole recipient of the Johan Bintang Kenyalang – Honorary [JBK (H)] that was presented to her by the Acting Yang di-Pertua Negeri (Head of State) of Sarawak, Datuk Amar Awang Asfia Awang Nasser, which is only given to foreigners who have rendered exceptional and meritorious service or deeds to the State of Sarawak, the government and the people.

Owing to Henry’s departure, Chew Chang Guan was recently promoted to general manager. Previously the Bureau’s regional director and a pioneer member in the founding of SCB, Chew will be responsible to oversee the management of the Bureau and assume the role of acting managing director.

Come April 2012, the Bureau will welcome Mike Cannon, current executive director of the association of Australian Convention Bureaux (AACB) and incoming managing sirector of SCB. A man with a wealth of experience and knowledge of the MICE industry in Australia, Cannon will be a great addition to the SCB family.

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