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An aerial view of the Kuala Lumpur Convention Centre. pic courtesy of the Centre

MICE (meetings, incentives, conventions, exhibitions) and banquet events, including weddings, are a growing business for majority of convention centres in Klang Valley despite the weak market conditions.

This is good news for the event planning industry. Big Tree Event & Supplies, one of key industry players founded by veteran event planner Datuk Sunil Sachdev, expects promising times ahead.

Sunil said the industry has grown steadily in the past several years — thanks to strong demand from the public and private sectors as well as the public.

“The establishment of state-of-the-art convention centres by reputable property developers is a game-changer. We expect the industry to expand, with new business opportunities,” he said.

Good year for convention centres

Kuala Lumpur Convention Centre (the Centre) general manager Alan Pryor said last year was a good year compared to 2017.

He is expecting another solid year from all the Centre’s business segments.

“We have a strong calendar of events for 2019 across the board, with the association meetings segment once again shaping up to be our biggest contributor,” Pryor told NST Property.

According to Pryor, the Centre has achieved 81 per cent of its revenue target for the association meetings segment.

Following closely is exhibition and corporate sales segments, which are also looking positive this year, he said.

Big Tree Event & Supplies founder Datuk Sunil Sachdev says the establishment of state-of-the-art convention centres by developers is a game changer for the event planning industry. Big Tree Event pic

The Centre is part of the KLCC development built on remaining land that was previously the Selangor Turf Club. The KLCC development encompasses the 88-storey Petronas Twin Towers, several other office towers, hotels and Suria KLCC shopping mall.

Last year, the Centre achieved its highest ever economic impact of RM888 million, an 80 per cent, or RM395 million, increase from 2017, by hosting 1,485 events — 17 per cent more than in 2017. It also welcomed 2.18 million participants last year, an increase of 49 per cent from 2017.

There was growth across majority of its business segments, with the association meetings segment registering the largest rise of 22 per cent compared to the corresponding period in 2017. This was followed by corporate meetings and banqueting events (corporate sales segment) with a 20 per cent increase, and exhibitions segment with 12 per cent growth.

“We are focused on being flexible on customisation and on adapting our offerings to market conditions. This agile approach has ensured we remain competitive without ­compromising the quality of service we deliver to our clients, and has ensured we enhance the customer journey and participant experience,” said Pryor.

He also attributed the Centre’s performance last year to a strong business mix.

“Of particular significance was the number of international association meetings we secured. We hosted 38 association meetings mainly from the medical, transportation and oil and gas sectors. Of these, 22 were international and 16 were national,” Pryor said.

KLCC expansion opens

Pryor said this year’s excitement includes the expansion of the Centre.

Its brand-new 11,000 sq m expansion opened for business last month and the first event to utilise the multi-purpose space is its longest-standing exhibitions — ARCHIDEX.

“Following the brand-new expansion, we will provide 33,659 sq m (362,302 sq ft ) of multi-purpose function space right in the heart of Kuala Lumpur. As the operator, our focus is on ensuring that the great events we host get to enjoy and make use of the new spaces being added to the centre in the most strategic location in the city,” said Pryor.

The extension enables the Centre to accommodate larger events and host more events simultaneously.

Datuk Sunil Sachdev

This purpose-built space allows clients to explore new meeting designs, networking hubs and customise their delegate experience to suit any occasion.

New additions include an expansive foyer area adjoining the Plenary Hall for networking, cocktail and social engagement activities, which can be extended into Hall 6, thus providing an additional 2,862sqm.

Pryor said the expansion enhances the world-class reputation as Malaysia’s premier purpose-built convention centre and strengthens the country’s attractive and ­affordable business events proposition.

“We are finalising our plans for an extensive refurbishment of the rest of the Centre, which will be implemented in stages and ensure the decor and ambience of the original building matches that of the expansion,” he said.

Pryor said the refurbishment plans would include all the meeting spaces, seating, and food and beverage outlets as well as furniture, decor and carpets.

“In essence, we’ll be looking at how the building facilities can support and complement the events taking place by ensuring the environment is consistent with the ever-changing needs of our clients.”

Pryor said the Centre has an an ongoing scheduled maintenance programme which includes upgrades and enhancements to lighting, decor, water systems, technology solutions, air quality and environmental systems, and safety and security support infrastructure.

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