MALAYSIA anticipates that its hosting of the annual PATA conference in Kuala Lumpur from April 19-22 will attract more events into the country.
Malaysia's tourism minister and PATA conference chairman, Ng Yen Yen, said: “Hosting the event will enable us to highlight that tourism is taken very seriously in Malaysia with the full support of the prime minister and cabinet.”
“For example, when (the PATA conference) was held in Malaysia in 2001, we did not have a dedicated tourism ministry as at present. It was combined with arts and culture.”
According to Azizan Noordin, acting director general of Tourism Malaysia, Malaysia’s experience of hosting PATA conferences have boosted the country’s reputation for MICE. Malaysia held PATA conferences in 1972, 1986 and 2001.
Since then, the country has also built a slew of dedicated convention centres including the Kuala Lumpur Convention Centre, Genting International Convention Centre and Borneo Convention Centre Kuching, he added.
Themed Building the Business Beyond Profits, this year's PATA conference has registered 461 delegates from 14 countries.
Tunku Iskandar, PATA’s programme committee chairman said: “There are two key aspects to the conference content this year. One involves young people – young tourism business professionals and students (at local colleges offering tourism courses) – through various sessions and the Social Entrepreneurial Challenge, and the other looks at how to build the business beyond the objective of achieving profits."