HONG KONG is expecting a 2023 rebound in business events and tourism with the lifting this week of Covid restrictions on inbound travellers including the scrapping of a three-day medical surveillance period.
The latest developments came as Hong Kong Tourism Board (HKTB) revealed that four international trade shows that departed the city due to pandemic restrictions have agreed to return next year.
Mainland China has also rolled back Covid restrictions that saw cities placed under lockdown and a wave of recent protests. Reports say the move is a sign that the government is winding down its zero-Covid policy and raises hopes of a gradual return to international events in 2023.
In Hong Kong, residents and visitors will no longer have to use the city’s Leave Home Safe app, which is designed to trace close contacts to a virus outbreak, to enter restaurants but proof of three vaccinations must still be shown at most venues. Overseas arrivals will also have to test negative by PCR before being permitted to travel around Hong Kong.
HKTB officials say the return of the four trade shows in addition to more than 30 B2B conventions secured over the next few years, is a “strong testament to the city’s status as The World’s Meeting Place”.
SHOWS RETURNING TO HK
– Jewellery & Gem World – a Singapore edition was held in September but the event returns to its original dual-venue product-specific format at AsiaWorld-Expo, September 18-22 and Hong Kong Convention and Exhibition Centre, September 20-24, 2023.
– Jewellery & Gem Asia – returns from Singapore to Hong Kong, June 22-25. Organisers: Informa Markets
– Cosmoprof Asia – the largest B2B cosmetics events in Asia Pacific show returns November 14-17 from Singapore. Organisers: Bologna Fier, Informa Markets
– Asia Fruit Logistica – returns from Bangkok to AsiaWorld-Expo, September 6-8, along with Asiafruit Congress. The fresh fruit and vegetable supply chain has event been held in Hong Kong since 2008. Organisers: Global Produce Events (HK)
Officials also wasted little time in linking the business event and tourism return to the prospects offered by the Greater Bay Area which provides a market of 87 million people and links China’s special administrative regions of Hong Kong and Macau to nine municipalities across neighbouring Guangdong province.
“We are thrilled to welcome four leading trade shows back to the city,” said Kenneth Wong, HKTB’s general manager for MICE and Cruise. “Their return highlights Hong Kong’s strong fundamentals, favourable business environment, rich tourism offerings, and enormous opportunities brought by the Hong Kong-Zhuhai-Macao Greater Bay Area, which will give Hong Kong an edge in attracting international business events.
“HKTB strives to drive recovery of business events to Hong Kong. The recent success in securing the world-class business events is strong testament to the city’s status as The World’s Meeting Place,” Wong said.
Also this week, HKTB held a large fam trip for 60 travel-trade buyers from Thailand, Malaysia, Indonesia, Philippines and Singapore. The group experienced Hong Kong Winterfest at West Kowloon Cultural district with a special event that followed the city’s hosting of the Junior Chamber International World Congress and an incentive group from Thailand.
Hong Kong is also preparing for a “strong line-up of world-class conventions” with the return of the influential tech event RISE for five consecutive years starting in 2024, and one of the world’s most sought-after Web3 events, the WOW Summit, coming to Asia Pacific for this first time with an event in Hong Kong next year.
And the largest group of overseas attendees since the pandemic began arrived in Hong Kong last week for the 24th Asia-Pacific League of Associations for Rheumatology Congress (APLAR) returned. Organisers said 1,500 delegates were registered for the five-day event at Hong Kong Convention and Exhibition Centre.
HKTB added the more than 30 business events already lined up for the next few years are expected to bring more than 300,000 participants to the city.
SUPPORT FOR RECOVERY
In a bid to speed up the recovery of Hong Kong’s convention and exhibition industry, HKSAR government is giving its strongest support yet to enable business events in the city to bounce back, according to officials. A free rental scheme for the city’s two main venues is being extended to June 30, 2023, and a new subsidy for recurring exhibitions to be staged in the city over three years is also being rolled out.
“There will be a significant boost in financial support by the HKTB to MICE-related industries to enhance Hong Kong’s competitive edge in winning the hosting rights for MICE events and attracting business visitors to the city,” a HKTB spokesman said.
“With its competitive bidding package, Hong Kong is geared up to take the MICE industry to new heights.”