Events line-up heralds hope for Hong Kong

Return of international book and wine fairs positive signs; Ocean Park to re-open and subsidies offered to wine and spirits exhibitors

DOMESTIC exhibitions being planned over the next few months at Hong Kong Convention and Exhibition Centre signal a gradual return to business events with markets across Asia Pacific seeing the planned easting of Covid restrictions.

Several events are scheduled for the venue including the Hong Kong Book Fair, July 15-21, and the HKTDC Hong Kong International Wine & Spirits Fair, November 5-7.

The venue was closed on January 26 due to the coronavirus pandemic, but held its first public event recently.

A new events line-up, which also includes wedding fairs, an education and careers expo, leisure and fitness, and electronics fairs, comes as the Hong Kong government also announced the re-opening of Ocean Park, one of the city’s two large outdoor attractions.

Commerce and economic development secretary Edward Yau would open on Saturday after its operations were suspended for four months due to the coronavirus. Visitors would have to book in advance via an online platform.

There are also plans to reopen Hong Kong Disneyland Resort, but dates have yet to be announced.

Restrictions on groups gatherings of more than eight people, however, were extended to June 18, to prevent further cluster outbreaks of Covid-19.

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The government announced also announced yesterday that directors or executives of specified listed companies can apply for exemption from the compulsory 14-day quarantine arrangement. During any calendar month, each of the listed companies or listing applicants can nominate a maximum of two directors or executives for the exemption.

After returning to Hong Kong, the exempted person will undergo medical surveillance arranged by the Department of Health for 14 days as opposed to quarantine.

Cash hope for HK’s ailing exhibitions industry

The 2019 edition of the book fair saw 1,075 exhibitors from 30 countries and regions including new participants from Latvia, Lithuania, Ukraine and Vietnam. More than 15,000 trade buyers from 70 countries and regions attended the trade days of the fair, according to official figures.

A HK$40 million subsidy scheme has been allocated to help local exhibitors with the subsidy capped at HK$10,000 per exhibitor.

Hong Kong Trade Development Council is promoting a subsidy scheme for the Wine & Spirits Fair. All exhibitors, whether new or not, will be  entitled to 5 per cent and 10 per cent discount respectively with an application received on or before June 30.

The subsidy comes as part of government efforts to help Hong Kong’s wine industry in the wake of the Covid-19 downturn.

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