Sarawak event leaders target Q4 reopening after vaccine push

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From left: Andee Yeo - Sarawak Business Events Association (SBE), Sharzede Datu Hj Salleh Askor -CEO of Sarawak Tourism Board, Amelia Roziman - Acting CEO, BESarawak, Mr. Hii Chang Kee - Permanent Secretary to the Ministry of Tourism, Arts & Culture Sarawak (MTAC), Datuk Karim Rahman Hamzah - Minister of Tourism, Arts & Culture Sarawak, Suriya Charles Buas - Director of Ministry of Tourism, Arts & Culture (MOTAC) Malaysia, Audry Wan Ullok – President of Sarawak Tourism Federation (STF), Gracie Geikie - Chairwoman of Malaysian Association of Convention and Exhibition Organisers and Suppliers (MACEOS). From left: Andee Yeo - Sarawak Business Events Association (SBE), Sharzede Datu Hj Salleh Askor -CEO of Sarawak Tourism Board, Amelia Roziman - Acting CEO, BESarawak, Mr. Hii Chang Kee - Permanent Secretary to the Ministry of Tourism, Arts & Culture Sarawak (MTAC), Datuk Karim Rahman Hamzah - Minister of Tourism, Arts & Culture Sarawak, Suriya Charles Buas - Director of Ministry of Tourism, Arts & Culture (MOTAC) Malaysia, Audry Wan Ullok – President of Sarawak Tourism Federation (STF), Gracie Geikie - Chairwoman of Malaysian Association of Convention and Exhibition Organisers and Suppliers (MACEOS).

Business events leaders in Sarawak have slated a possible reopening of the industry in October after 2,000 industry professionals were fully vaccinated against Covid-19.

Industry workers were jabbed during the final phase of the Industrial COVID-19 Vaccination Programme - 15 July 2021 - 18 July 2021 - at the Association of Churches Sarawak, Kuching.

“The prospect of reopening Sarawak for business events is high. This is a timely development as the Ministry of Tourism, Arts and Culture Malaysia (MOTAC) is implementing the COVID-19 Free Destination Programme which would enable main tourism and business events cities to reopen once the targeted herd immunity of 80 per cent is achieved,” said Dato’ Sri Hajah Nancy Shukri.

Sarawak’s four-phase recovery roadmap includes the reopening of domestic travel activities by phase three and the region has just entered phase two of that roadmap. Sarawak’s vaccination programme is outpacing the rest of Malaysia, with 71.4 per cent of its adult population vaccinated with at least one dose and 31 per cent of the adult population vaccinated with both doses. However Malaysia as a whole now has one of the fastest vaccine rollouts in the world, dishing out close to 420,000 doses a day.

Minister of Tourism, Arts and Culture (MTAC), Datuk Abdul Karim Rahman Hamzah, said: “We anticipate entering phase three by the end of August where we aim to restart tourism and business events in Sarawak by the fourth quarter this year.”

But event when this milestone is reach safety protocols will remain.

“Although fully vaccinated, the industry will continue to adopt and implement all safety and precautionary measures,” said Mr. Hii Chang Kee, Permanent Secretary to the Ministry of Tourism, Arts and Culture Sarawak. “Tourism and business events activities will be organised with strict adherence to the government stipulated Standard Operating Procedures (SOP). The safety of those involved - whether as hosts, suppliers or visitors - remains a top priority in our state.”

“The business events industry is finally one step closer to restarting again,” said Amelia Roziman, CEO of Business Events Sarawak. “We are 70 per cent in delivering our State recovery plan for business events with updated SOP and improved incentivised packages, alongside creative marketing and promotional materials to ensure the success of the events that are being held in Sarawak. We are all eager to restart again and can't wait to launch our new recovery efforts soon”.

James Lancaster
Written By
James Lancaster

AMI editor James Lancaster is a familiar face in the meetings industry and international association community. Since joining AMI in 2010, he has gained a reputation for asking difficult questions and getting lost in convention centres. Proofer, podcaster, and panellist - in his spare time, James likes to walk, read, listen to music, and drink beer.

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