Published on : Monday, September 7, 2020
Mint Leong, the Deputy President of Malaysia Inbound Tourism, entered her office to experience an unusual occurrence for a Sunday.
She turned on her laptop to log into the official website of China International Fair for Trade in Services, the ongoing event which started in Beijing on Friday. Leong was looking for fresh opportunities.
In this year’s CIFTIS, over 17,000 companies are participating through Wednesday in Beijing. Organizers explain that more than 2,000 firms have signed up as offline exhibitors with over 4,000 companies bringing their products and services to the forefront.
To quote Leong, “We have chosen some conferences and forums that were related to tourism. We watched the World Conference on Tourism Cooperation and Development the day earlier, during which speakers from different countries shared their experiences on their government’s respective policies to alleviate the impact by the COVID-19 outbreak on the tourism industry.”
“The conferences also shed some light on the future prospects of our industry,” she said, adding that “it has been very fruitful for us, so we kept discussing it for the past two days.”
Though the minister could not remain present personally in Beijing to take part in CIFTIS, the scale of the expo was nonetheless quite conspicuous.
“It covers literally every aspect of services. For the tourism industry, the exhibition also touches on other aspects like culture. There are so many exhibitors that we didn’t know of before.”
While navigating through the website, Leong noticed a winter sports section, one of the exhibition’s themes.
“Despite not having many winter sports here in Malaysia, this could be an opportunity for us,” she said. “Beijing is hosting the 2022 Winter Olympic Games, if someone from Malaysia wants to watch the games, they would need tourism services like hotel and ticketing.”
Leong stated that she found few companies to reach out to.
“We would like to get in touch with those that could bring potential opportunities for us, something innovative that we are not familiar with, like big data,” she said.
“Our business is closely linked with China, so we need to understand the trend there and catch up,” she added.