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Sarawak Ascends Asia Pacific’s Business Events Tiers at the 55th ICCA Congress 2016

13th November 2016, Kuching: Sarawak is ascending regional tiers as the leading 2nd tier destination in Asia Pacific as it welcomes the most authoritative meeting in the Business Events (BE) sector, the 55th International Congress and Convention Association (ICCA) Congress 2016 which kicks off today until 16th November 2016 at the Borneo Convention Centre Kuching.


Making world history is Kuching, one of the first few second-tier destinations in Asia to win hosting rights of this congress, following the 2015 rendition which was hosted by Buenos Aires (Argentina), preceded most recently by Antalya (Turkey) in 2014 and Shanghai (China) in 2013. The Congress has been held annually since 1963.

This gathering of global thought leaders and decision makers at the BE sector’s most influential congress is aptly hosted by the world’s first city of unity, which resonates with the theme of the 55th ICCA Congress 2016; “Gathering of the ICCA Global Tribes”.

YB Dato’ Sri Dr. Muhammad Leo Michael Toyad Abdullah, Chairman of the Sarawak Convention Bureau (SCB) set in motion the opening ceremony with a heartfelt speech unveiling the message behind the congress theme.


The showcase of Melanau rites and traditional silat (martial arts) at the opening ceremony was the first ever cultural exposé to Sarawak for most of the ICCA Congress attendees.

“We’re often asked ‘why Sarawak, why hold your Congress in Borneo?’ My first response is that Malaysia had total confidence in our members from Sarawak, and threw their weight behind the bid. My second is that Sarawak planned not just to learn from the world’s top meetings experts, but promised to share their own secret of how an obscure, unknown destination could climb the global meetings rankings. Our team has thoroughly enjoyed our planning partnership over the last three years, and we know our delegates will enjoy a unique, authentic experience in Kuching,” remarked Nina Freysen-Pretorius, President of ICCA.

This rendition of the ICCA Congress will highlight some of the industry’s most pressing matters such as home-grown innovation in the Asia Pacific region, impact measurement of international meetings as well as the competitive positioning of destinations.


Delegates will indulge in several networking events that showcase the best of Malaysian culture – including a gastronomical affair at the Kuching Waterfront, a mini rendition of the Rainforest Music Festival at the Sarawak Cultural Village, and a Gala that honours traditional cultures from around the world.

The official Corporate Social Responsibility programme, the “Bookshare” initiative by the Librarians Association of Malaysia (Sarawak Chapter), will see donated books distributed to various rural libraries and community centres across the state.

Dato Sri Dr. Muhammad Leo Michael Toyad Abdullah, Chairman of the Sarawak Convention Bureau praised the collective effort from all partners in the sector including the immense support from the government. Under the vision and creativity of the Local Host Committee, the city’s iconic structure – the DUN legislative building is lighted in green to reflect the official ICCA colour. Congress delegates will take part in exclusive study tours into some of Sarawak’s most prominent industries.

For more information about the ICCA Congress visit www.congress2016.iccaworld.org. Learn more about ICCA at www.iccaworld.org.