Malaysian inbound MICE players and suppliers have seen a further spike in business due to the weakened ringgit in light of the US election results last month. The currency has fallen nearly seven per cent since November 9, 2016, and today, the ringgit is trading at RM4.43 against the US dollar.
Arokia Das, senior manager at Luxury Tours Malaysia, revealed on the sidelines of the recent BE@Penang that incentive travel business from India and Indonesia for 1Q2017 was at least 20 per cent better than the corresponding period in 2016. He said that many organisers had locked in the rates in November as they thought the ringgit was at its lowest.
However, he shared that forward bookings from Thailand and the Philippines were slow. For Thailand, it was because business trips are being put on hold as the country mourns the passing of its King.
Das predicts that business would pick up from these two markets in early 2017.
Koe Peng Kang, executive vice president of S P Setia, also expects the weak ringgit to encourage local organisers to keep their events on home ground due to budget constraints.
Francis Teo, head, convention centre, Setia City Convention Centre in Selangor, added that the weak ringgit has also given rise to more Malaysians joining multi-level marketing programmes to further supplement their incomes. His centre has seen an increase in direct selling events as well as insurance related ones.
When asked for his outlook for 2017, he hopes that it’ll be a better year.