The Hong Kong SAR Government’s Commerce and Economic Development Bureau issued the following response to criticisms levelled at subsidies to the exhibitions industry in our story Thanks… But it’s Small Beer’
- With the outbreak of Covid-19, almost all convention and exhibition (C&E) events have been postponed or cancelled in Hong Kong and local small and medium enterprises (SMEs) have lost the opportunities to connect with international buyers and obtain orders.In order to reinvigorate Hong Kong’s reputation as an international premier C&E and sourcing hub, the Government considered it necessary to give an early commitment to the industry that we would much welcome the resumption of C&E events in Hong Kong as soon as the outbreak of the epidemic has come to an end. Therefore, in the first round of the Anti-epidemic Fund (AEF) announced in February 2020, the Government has set aside HK$1,020 million for setting up the Convention and Exhibition Industry Subsidy Scheme to support the C&E industry.
- Under the Scheme, we will provide subsidy to (a) participants, local and overseas, of exhibitions and major conventions organised by the Hong Kong Trade Development Council (HKTDC) and (b) all other organisers of exhibitions and international conventions at the Hong Kong Convention and Exhibition Centre and AsiaWorld-Expo.More… Cash hope for Hong Kong’s ailing exhibitions sector
- The objective of the scheme is to attract exhibitors and convention participants to participate in exhibitions and conventions in Hong Kong. For exhibitions and major conventions organised by HKTDC, we will engage HKTDC as our agent to distribute the subsidy to the exhibitors and participants.
- For exhibitions and international conventions hosted by other private organisers at HKCEC and AWE, in order to streamline administrative procedures, instead of subsidising individual exhibitors/participants, we will subsidise the organisers through providing 100% venue rental subsidy.We urge the organisers to share the subsidy with their event participants. HKTDC will not enjoy any venue rental subsidy under the scheme. In other words, exhibitors and participants of exhibitions and international conventions will benefit from participation fee reduction either through HKTDC or private organisers.HK tourism chiefs reveal post-Covid strategy
Providing a subsidy which is similar to that of HKTDC to the organisers and participants of exhibitions and international conventions organised by private organisers will be providing the same subsidy twice to them.
- On the more general issue of cash flow, to address this problem of enterprises, including those in the C&E industry, the Government will provide time-limited financial support to employers via the Employment Support Scheme under the second round of AEF to retain their employees who will otherwise be made redundant.The Government has also enhanced the 80% and 90% Guarantee Products and launched the Special 100% Guarantee Product under the SME Financing Guarantee Scheme administered by the HKMC Insurance Ltd.
- The Government is expeditiously ironing out the working details of the various measures, and will continue to engage stakeholders to explain the proposals and address their concerns.