Malaysia Business Events Industry Report 2020

Insights into COVID-19 & its Impact on Malaysia’s Business Events Industry

Malaysia Business Events Industry Report 2020

The COVID-19 outbreak has crippled global economies and Malaysia’s business events (BE) industry has not been spared either. As Malaysia braced for the second wave of the outbreak in early March, the Malaysian government quickly decided to put the entire nation on a Movement Control Order (MCO), limiting business operations and banning travel.

MACEOS ran a survey among business events professionals in Malaysia to assess the business impact in the business events industry and to quantify the losses resulting from the COVID-19 outbreak.

Through this exercise, we also wanted to find out business events professionals’ thoughts and challenges experienced during this period, how they were coping and what their plans were moving forward.

The survey revealed that within a short period of time, many of the business events’ industry players were hit hard and quickly by the outbreak. This affected the overall performance of the business events industry as a whole.

Despite tremendous pressure, many businesses were quick to adapt their operations for the short term. Still, events professionals felt they would require further assistance to ensure business continuity should the outbreak cease to be resolved. Overall, events professionals foresee long-term repercussions that could bring business and the entire industry to a halt if mitigation and intervention efforts are not in place.

Among the main findings from our survey covering financial impact, workforce solutions, impact to operations and revenue are:

  • A total of 713 business events cancellations were reported in this survey, equivalent to a total loss of income amounting to RM178 million.
  • Meanwhile, a total of 537 business events were reported to be postponed, with financial losses to be estimated at RM176 million.
  • A majority of 29% of respondents surveyed shared that they experienced a revenue decline of between 91-100%. Meanwhile, a whopping 78% shared that their revenues had dropped by more than 50% as a result of the pandemic.
  • Only 12% felt that they could sustain the business for more than six months should the outbreak prolong.
  • Though a majority of the respondents were still employing staff at full pay, 35% anticipate a decision to reduce the number of employees working.
  • Almost 70% stated that they needed some form of deferment on payments to survive during this crisis.


Based on our forecast in February this year, we estimate that total loss on industry revenue due to COVID-19 amounted to RM1.5 billion. The loss amount is expected to further increase with more event cancellations and postponements are going to unfold in the coming days. For an industry that provides direct and indirect jobs for more than 10,000 people along the entire supply chain of business events, it is only a matter of time before the reality of this situation leads to massive layoffs and unemployment.

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