A MARKETING representative in China for the Sarawak Convention Bureau (SCB) and the Sarawak Tourism Board may be established towards the end of 2013 as part of the Malaysian state's move to focus on developing MICE business out of the massive market.
According to SCB's managing director, Mike Cannon, the role of the marketing representative will be to educate Chinese outbound travel consultants, association buyers and incentive players on what Sarawak can offer for business events.
Cannon said: “We are conducting a study to see if it is more appropriate to appoint a company or an individual as a marketing representative, where the representative should be located and how it should operate.”
SCB regards Greater China as its second most important international market after Singapore. Cannon said: “Singapore remains our top overseas target due to its proximity and direct flight access to Kuching, the capital of Sarawak, (but) we realise that Greater China has a fast growing economy and organisations, associations and corporations based in China want to explore the world for opportunities. We would be remiss if we don’t capitalise on this. And if we don’t act now, we will be forgotten in the stampede.”
The bureau is also in the midst of planning two-year programmes for the corporate meeting and association segments, and activities will include a greater frequency of sales missions to first-tier Chinese cities and familiarisation trips to Sarawak.
Cannon foresees the corporate meeting segment as having greater growth potential than the association segment, noting that “the latter tends to have their events within the country”.
“But this trend is slowly changing,” he said.
SCB welcomed five Chinese events in 2012, the largest being the 9th World Congress of Chinese Medicine in Kuching, which saw more than 1,000 attendees.