26 June 2021, Kuching: Sarawak’s business events and tourism industry became the first industry in Malaysia to initiate the Industrial Covid-19 Vaccination Centre, led by the Ministry of Tourism, Arts and Culture Sarawak (MTAC) in collaboration with the Ministry of Tourism, Arts and Culture Malaysia (MOTAC), Sarawak Tourism Federation (STF), Ministry of Health of Malaysia (Kementerian Kesihatan Malaysia) and Timberland Medical Centre.
Over 2,000 industry frontliners voluntarily registered for the Industrial Vaccination Programme through their respective employers which is held from 24-27 June 2021 at the Association of Churches Sarawak. 321 industry partners were vaccinated on the first day on 24 June 2021 and it is anticipated that all registered participants will be vaccinated throughout the 4-day programme.
Present at the vaccination centre was Malaysia’s Minister of Tourism, Arts and Culture, Dato’ Sri Hajah Nancy Shukri, who was in awe at the positive response from industry frontliners, “My heartiest congratulations go to Sarawak for being the first state in Malaysia to initiate the Industrial Vaccination Centre and vaccinate over 2,000 business events and tourism industry partners. I thank the Ministry of Tourism, Arts and Culture Sarawak for coordinating this programme successfully. Well done, Sarawak!”
According to Sarawak’s Minister of Tourism, Arts and Culture/Minister of Youth and Sports, Datuk Abdul Karim Rahman Hamzah, the Sarawak Government recognises that the business events and tourism industry is one of the state’s core economic sectors; “The vaccination programme by the Ministry of Tourism, Arts & Culture Sarawak is an imperative step to successfully protect over 2,000 industry frontliners which is a reassuring sign that Sarawak will be ready to reopen for business activities once more. Vaccinating the industry is in tandem with the Sarawak Government’s target to vaccinate at least 80% of the local population by the end of August.”
Currently, Sarawak has the highest number of vaccinations being dished out in the country, with over 1 million people vaccinated. This heightens the prospects of Sarawak loosening travel restrictions for the purpose of hosting regional business events before end of the year.
Mr. Hii Chang Kee, Permanent Secretary to the Ministry of Tourism, Arts and Culture Sarawak, stated that “The Ministry is committed to do what is necessary to support agencies such as Business Events Sarawak with the reopening of the business events industry. The vaccination programme is accelerating the industry’s recovery so that when our sky reopens, Sarawak is more than ready for business.”
Despite the current situation, Sarawak’s business events industry is already laying the groundwork to prepare for business and travel again. Amelia Roziman, Acting CEO of Business Events Sarawak (BESarawak) shared that “When events return to our shores, we will have the SOPs ready for implementation and business events planners can take advantage of our incentivised packages. Even our industry partners are gearing up by getting involved in extensive education programmes to strengthen their professionalism.”
Amelia also added that discussions are being held between BESarawak and the Malaysia Convention and Exhibition Bureau (MyCEB) to forge a possible interstate collaboration in an effort to reopen the country’s business events industry.