From the Desk of the Festival Director: Arts and the City


City festivals around the region have been seeded by their governments for decades because of their outsized economic impact. At the KL International Arts Festival, which is produced by DiverseCity, every ringgit invested in the performing arts draws in RM2 to RM3 from other stakeholders.

Further, a 2017 study by Nottingham University’s School of Business and Spire Consulting Group estimated that business directly generated as a result of the festival was at least RM4 for every RM1 invested as seed funding.

When we watch a show, it might seem to revolve entirely around the few performers on stage. However, behind the scenes is an army of people working hard to make it a dazzling success.

Jobs are created directly and indirectly as a result of the festival — in 2017, 1,200 jobs were created — which benefits private businesses as they see their revenues increase, as well as the government, directly and indirectly, through increased taxes and contributions.

Funding invested in Malaysian arts practitioners circulates closer to its source with a higher multiplier effect than if it were remitted overseas to bring in expensive foreign acts in a foreign currency, with a significant profit element and withholding tax imposed.

TripAdvisor’s Barometer, the world’s largest traveller survey, has observed that travellers of all ages are seeking out things they haven’t tried before. The KL International Arts Festival is an invaluable opportunity to glimpse the heart and soul of the city and the nation as we proudly showcase the best of Malaysian performing arts.


This is an excerpt from KLIAF Festival Director Datin Sunita Rajakumar’s article in The Edge on 29 July 2018.



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