Sustainability and technology. The Kuala Lumpur Convention Centre’s annual Association Seminar this year brought together local association executives, industry partners and industry experts to an interactive forum to exchange knowledge and share international best practices on delivering successful meetings, and to keep abreast with growing trends, such as sustainability and technology, impacting the global meetings industry.
Themed “What are the right ingredients to organise a successful conference?”, the gathering of more than 120 participants from over 40 national associations and meeting industry partners heard from key Professional Conference Organisers (PCOs) and national association decision-makers as well as Mr Roger Simons, Group Sustainability Manager, MCI Group, who elaborated on how sustainability and market trends are impacting the way conferences are organised.
According to Mr Simons, the increasing awareness of and commitment to conservation and sustainable development within the business tourism industry is no longer a trend, rather a common practice among PCOs and associations and while eco-friendly events are not new in Malaysia or the rest of world, more and more clients are becoming aware of the importance of sustainability. Therefore, associations, events and venues are not just encouraged, but more likely expected, to reflect this shift in focus.
“There is now a need to rethink the way associations host events and use sustainable practices not only during the event itself, but both pre and post and within their organisation as well. And given the economic climate in Europe and the United States, international associations are now looking to Asia for their conferences and possibly to headquarter their operations. This opens the door for emerging Asian-based associations to gain a stronger foothold within their international association network.”
Given the Centre’s position as Malaysia’s leading convention facility, General Manager Datuk Peter Brokenshire acknowledged the Centre had a responsibility to educate, encourage and inspire local associations to actively engage their international counterparts to gain bid support to bring their international meetings to Malaysia. “This annual knowledge-sharing platform is one of our primary initiatives towards this end whilst providing another avenue for representatives from the various associations to network, build rapport and to share knowledge and experiences for everyone’s mutual benefit.”
According to the World Travel & Tourism Council (WTTC), in 2012, the meetings industry outgrew the global economy, increasing its total contribution to global GDP by three per cent. Job creation was up by 5 million to 260 million. And, for the first time in history, travel and tourism now supports one in 11 of all jobs in the world, with more than 10 per cent of all new jobs created last year coming from the industry.