In October, Malaysia announced the reopening of interstate travel, and Penang’s tourism and business events sectors have been preparing to welcome tourists, business travellers and event organisers back to Penang again.
Penang was the first state to push through with its first hybrid business events conference – BE @ Penang 2021 that happened from 9 – 10 December in Setia SPICE Convention Centre. The sessions were also streamed online through the official conference platform.
Co-organised by the Penang Convention & Exhibition Bureau (PCEB) and Anderes Fourdy Events – Malaysia’s leading professional congress organiser, the 6th edition of the homegrown conference was themed ‘BE Connected. BE Inspired’.
BE @ Penang 2021 celebrated the industry members’ grit, adaptability and innovation, and the conference aimed to provide a platform for industry practitioners to recharge as a united force and BE Inspired as we BE Connected.
As a testimony to Penang’s first hybrid business events conference and Malaysia’s second, the conference was carried out with the necessary SOPs in place in line with the Next Normal Guidelines for Business Events Penang launched in 2020, and the Responsible Tourism campaign by the Penang State Exco Office for Tourism & Creative Economy (PETACE).
There was also a specially mapped out delegates path to facilitate social distancing throughout the convention centre. As for the food breaks, delegates were all served by the catering personnel, with masks and gloves on to reduce contact.
This year, the conference directed itself to a fresh start for all delegates in getting back the momentum to attend and organise physical and hybrid conferences and events. The conversations of the conference put focus on the insights within the domestic market for business events in line with global trends.
Among the main topics explored included the “Business Events Malaysia 2022 & Beyond Outlook” with the head of MyCEB, PCEB, BESarawak and Sabah Tourism Board; “Business Opportunities in the New Normal”; “The Rise of Multi-Hub & Hybrid Events”; “Monetizing Virtual & Hybrid Events”; and “Maximizing Social & Legacy Impact of Business Events”. The highlight of the conference was the inspiring and authentic keynote by Boonsiri Somchit – author of “When the Chicken Dies, Everyone Cries: Authentic Leadership & Life Lessons from the Heart of the Kampung” where she shared the different inspirations derived from simple experiences that she faced growing up in her village and countryside.
The closing keynote “The Currency of Trust” was delivered by John D. Chacko. Chacko is currently the President of the International Advertising Association (IAA) Malaysia, Global VP IAA Education, IAA World Board Member, as well as the Chairman of the upcoming 46th IAA World Congress that will be held in Penang in 2023.
The physical components of BE @ Penang 2021 consisted of exclusive by-invitation-only activities for the delegates who attended the conference in person in Penang. Outstation delegates were also brought on a special Discover Penang Fam Tour whereas participating ICCA Malaysia members attended a curated session co-organised by the ICCA Asia Pacific Regional Office followed by a “Crazy Rich Asians” tour of the Cheong Fatt Tze Mansion, where some famous scenes from the Hollywood blockbuster were shot.
On day 2, an interactive workshop facilitated by renowned leadership training consultancy – Leaderonomics, gave the delegates a taste of what they have been missing for the past two years as it was the first large in-person workshop organised in Penang post-movement control order.
To close the conference off, PCEB launched its new global marketing campaign – ‘BElong in Penang’ at the finale dinner as part of PCEB’s work with the Penang State Government and industry partners to drive the rejuvenation of the tourism and business events industry.
The online conference platform is currently open for registration from now to 15 March 2022 to those who did not get the opportunity to register or attend the conference on 9 & 10 Dec 2021. Register through the link https://www.beatpenang.com/registration and use code ‘BEPOST’ to gain access to the on-demand session recordings.