Conventions group moots special business travel pass encompassing Malaysia, other countries

ICCA Asia Pacific chapter chairman Ashwin Gunasekeran pictured during an interview at Tropical Spice Garden, October 25, 2021. — Picture by Sayuti Zainudin
ICCA Asia Pacific chapter chairman Ashwin Gunasekeran pictured during an interview at Tropical Spice Garden, October 25, 2021. — Picture by Sayuti Zainudin

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GEORGE TOWN, Oct 25 — The International Congress and Convention Association (ICCA) Asia Pacific chapter has proposed that the Malaysian government work with several countries to develop a special pass for business travellers attending international conferences.

The chapter’s chairman, Ashwin Gunasekeran, said this would ease travel requirements for business travellers who needed to attend international meetings, congress or conferences for official reasons.

“If some countries are to work together to come up with one pass for business travellers, it would make it easier for them to attend international conferences and events for business purposes,” he said in an interview with Malay Mail today.

He said currently, some business travellers must undergo quarantine twice or more if they need to travel several countries, in addition to undergoing different Covid-19 testing procedures.

The proposed business pass would make the process smoother for these travellers as it would allow them to travel to their destinations after being tested for Covid-19, he said.

Malaysia could work with several countries to develop such a system, he said when adding that it would allow seamless travel for participants of international business events.

Ashwin, who is also Penang Convention & Exhibition Bureau (PCEB) chief executive officer, said the meetings, incentives, conventions and exhibitions (MICE) industry is now picking up as countries reopen their borders.

However, there was still uncertainty and lack of standardisation among countries in terms of regulations and requirements for accepting international visitors.

Among others, he said this included the non-recognition of some Covid-19 vaccines or vaccination administered in certain countries.

“Some countries require their own Covid-19 testing so even if the visitor has undergone a swab test prior to arriving, the visitor may have to do it again at the country he arrived at,” he said.

Ashwin said this meant a multi-destination business traveller would have to be tested repeatedly in close succession or undergo lengthy quarantines for brief visits.

The proposed travel visa would reduce such restrictions and promote business travel as well as MICE activity in the country, he said.

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