Amelia Roziman is the COO of the Sarawak Convention Bureau. She explains to Rémi Dévé all about the organization’s efforts to attract associations to Kuching, on the island of Borneo and how it partakes of an overall strategy to make the region grow, while leaving a long-lasting impact.
Can you elaborate on the alignment of the conference you attract to Sarawak and the key industries there?
We primarily target association businesses, conferences, in addition to other areas of business events. Special emphasis is given to agriculture, renewable energy, public health, education, security, development of women and children, and most recently, digital economy.
Hence our strategy is geared towards these pillars. They are the priority for marketing endeavours, focused overall on Asia Pacific with an emphasis on Singapore, West Malaysia, Australia, New Zealand, Europe and USA.
Geographically, we target international association clients in efforts to expand global branding. A good practice we can divulge is we think out of the box when hosting FAM trips for potential clients.
Can you explain the positioning of Sarawak as an association destination?
Riding on the wave of the accumulative success over the last decade and with the recent ICCA Congress 2016 cementing Sarawak as a formidable meetings destination, we have gained traction over the art of conducting purposeful and sustainable business events.
Beyond the destination appeal, Sarawak is known for its level of service, government support, and the recognition of impact that an association can have on the greater society.
We see associations as our tribal ally; integral to the global tribes of business events. We explore many possibilities when we align ourselves with various associations. In addition to bring out the best in each association’s internal goals, we connect and facilitate associations with government agencies and local partners in an effort to create sustainable impact beyond the immediate economic one.
We also emphasize that meetings are the answer to almost everything from problem solving to nation-building. For example, the sudden rise from infant business event industries with the growth of New Key Economic Areas (NKEAs) sectors primarily creates a need for specialisation and eads to the establishment of professional associations – equating to more conferences in the country.
In what way(s) do you cater to international associations?
Firstly, to participate in the global context and commanding a presence in the business of business events, Sarawak affiliates itself with international bodies such as ICCA and the Union of International Associations (UIA). This alliance is also evident by the recent success of the 55th ICCA Congress 2016, Sarawak is the one of the few “second tier” locations in Asia to win and successfully host this event.
To better prepare the destination for international events, we are keeping up with advancements which complement the industry – such as embracing technology and how it can aid and propel efforts as well as active soft development: education and training via our dedicated partnership ‘BESarawak’ initiative; a 3-prong programme (Communicating, Educating and Awarding) for local associations, corporate organisations, government agencies, media, and industry partners.
Last but not least, the Bureau is opening its doors to local and foreign associations related to key sectors the state government had identified for further development to locate their Asia Pacific based offices to Kuching by providing two year assistance for office rental and taking care of utility bills such as electricity, Internet and telephone. It will also allow associations to use the meeting spaces within the bureau’s office.
The Bureau welcomes all sectors but strongly encourage sectors which are of the state’s special focus, which includes, renewable energy, agriculture, infrastructure development, urban planning, medical, education, IT, and women and children, as well as digital economy.
By having the Asia Pacific offices in Sarawak, we hope to position Sarawak as a business events friendly destination and attract more regional meetings. It will also help to strengthen the branding and marketing of Sarawak as a business events destination.