For many years, although Malaysia was experiencing a substantial growth in demand for international conferences and meetings, it lacked a world-class, large-scale convention centre. That changed when the Kuala Lumpur Convention Centre opened in June 2005.
In 2006, it was the chosen venue for over 430 events, with more than 1.5 million people coming through the doors. General manager Peter Brokenshire believes the reason is that “the centre is very versatile and the facilities we have within it allow us to accommodate events and functions of all types”.
The centre hosted the XVIII FIGO World Congress in 2006. Over 8,300 members of the International Federation of Gynecology and Obstetrics converged on the centre in November. With over 400 invited speakers and 1,800 presenters, the local organising committee proclaimed it a great success.
Winning such an event was only possible with the new centre’s facilities. The convention centre overlooks the 40-hectare City Centre Park and rests in the shadows of the famous Petronas Twin Towers. Air-conditioned walkways link the centre to the LRT station and Suria KLCC Shopping Centre in the commercial district.
Located nearby are the Mandarin Oriental and Traders hotels with the newly refurbished Impiana Hotel just opposite the centre, providing over 1,500 rooms and allowing direct access. A further 12,000 quality hotel rooms at three-, four- and five-star levels are within a 10-minute walk.
A unique feature of the convention centre is the view over the 20-hectare park from the circulation areas. Described as a “city within a city”, the precinct not only has a business focus but it delivers on lifestyle necessities as well, and they can all be easily reached from the centre.
Accommodation, air-conditioned shopping and a science-discovery centre all flanking a large, open green space, makes the precinct a different business environment to many convention centres around the world.
As one would expect from a contemporary, purpose-built complex, the convention centre boasts the latest in technological facilities
The plenary hall is built on two levels with seating for 3,000 delegates. Its features include built-in rear projection and screen, simultaneous interpretation for up to seven languages, delegate-voting systems and interactive microphone technology. A motorised floor, which can rise to the auditorium level is the base of the orchestra pit, sitting at the front of the stage. A fixed stage with fly tower and backstage support facilities including a direct lift, make the plenary hall an extremely flexible space for large events.
Adjacent to the hall is the plenary theatre with tiered seating for 500. The theatre also has delegate-voting systems in all 500 seats and interpretation facilities as in the plenary hall.
Housed within two blocks are four exhibition halls located on the ground level.
The Grand Ballroom, which also boasts permanent rear projection screens and stage lighting, can hold 2,000 guests banquet style.
As event organisers know, simultaneous events can be marred by noise from an adjoining room. State-of-the-art double soundproof wall systems have been installed within the ballroom to ensure complete isolation.
A further 600 guests can sit comfortably in the banquet hall with its grand style décor and impressive vaulted ceilings.
As well as the grand ballroom and banquet hall, the convention centre also contains a dedicated conference hall with seating for 1,800 delegates. The conference hall can be separated into three smaller halls, allowing for events of different sizes.
Completing the facilities within the centre is a host of other meeting rooms including VIP rooms, boardrooms, press rooms, AV production rooms and hospitality suites.
Knowledge is a powerful thing
Unique to the Kuala Lumpur Convention Centre is a training course offered to convention organisers in cultural awareness.
Peter Brokenshire explains: “One of the things we noticed was that many of our expatriate staff had never worked in Malaysia before and needed some cultural awareness training to do their job effectively. We were finding that we were giving similar informal information to our clients on how to conduct business in Malaysia.
“We determined that we needed to formalise this as a service to our clients so that they were not only aware of cultural sensitivities but the specific nuances of business dealings in Malaysia. We wanted to make sure our clients maximised the opportunities that were in front of them.”
The result of Brokenshire’s findings is a structured formal training course, which is now offered on a complimentary basis to organisers of confirmed events.
Designed for PCOs and their clients, the structured workshop runs over a full day and includes training on various subjects such as business and social etiquette and common Malaysian values.
“Many people, particularly those who have not conducted business here before, don’t realise the need for adhering to protocol. We have expert trainers linked to our event creation department who will advise on gift exchanges, greetings and handshakes, Malaysian traits and attitudes, PR and media relations and seating arrangements among many other topics,” Brokenshire says.
“We ensure that client confidentiality is maintained and deliver the course in a private forum. It’s also important so that we can tailor the content to the specific requirement of each client.”
Organisers of many functions and events conducted at the centre often extend invitations to members of Malaysia’s royal families. The course offered by the Convention Centre ensures the correct protocols, both official and social, are followed.
Brokenshire recommends that all clients attend the course and the feedback he has received from those who have already attended has been positive. “Once they have undergone the training they’re more equipped to conduct a successful event,” he adds.
Airport to city centre
There are several options to get to the Kuala Lumpur Convention Centre from the Kuala Lumpur International Airport (KLIA). KLIA Express and KLIA Transit take around half an hour to get you to KL Central. Then take a taxi or the light rail transit from Central to the Centre. The centre’s website (address below) even has a video, which shows you how you can get from the airport to the Centre.
Hop-On-Hop-Off City Tour
Launched in conjunction with the Visit Malaysia Year 2007 campaign, the tour takes tourists on a round tour covering 42 places of interest, including the City Centre. Operating seven days a week, from 8.30am to 8.30pm, delegates can explore the city in between sessions: hopping on at the main entrance of the Centre and hopping off at 41 other places around the city, such as Chinatown for a quick lunch and bargain shopping or enjoy the spectacular views of the city at KL Tower.