HK vows return as ‘Trade Fair Capital of Asia’

HKECIA welcomes measures to support conferences and exhibitions industry in Hong Kong chief executive’s 2022 Policy Address, but urges an easing of epidemic prevention measures and travel restrictions

BUSINESS EVENTS leaders have welcomed segments of the Hong Kong SAR Government chief executive’s Policy Address which John Lee gave a commitment to support the industry’s efforts to re-establish the city as “Trade Fair Capital of Asia”.

Among the measures is the Convention and Exhibition Industry Subsidy Scheme (CEISS), which was due to expire at the end of the year, but will be extended to June 30, 2023.

A new HK$1.4 billion (US$ 179.48m) scheme after the CEISS expires is aimed subsidising more than 200 exhibitions to be staged in Hong Kong over three years.

Work on the AsiaWorld-Expo Phase 2 project and Wan Chai North redevelopment near the Hong Kong Convention and Exhibition Centre will substantially increase large-scale convention and exhibition spaces to make Hong Kong a premier venue for international conferences and exhibitions.

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Stuart Bailey, chairman of the Hong Kong Exhibition and Conference Industry Association, said: “The HKECIA welcomes government support to convention and exhibition industry, helping ease financial burdens on the organisers who can therefore get ready for the industry revival.

“An additional HK$1.4 billion scheme and the commitment to the development plans are a strong recognition of the significance of the exhibition industry to Hong Kong’s economy and government’s declaration of intention to re-establish Hong Kong as an exhibition hub of Asia, supporting numerous crucial industries and boosting commerce.

“While the HKECIA appreciates [the] Government’s measures, our industry urges the Government to lift travel restrictions and relax all social distancing measures as soon as possible,” Bailey said.

“The exhibition industry and business sector need to be able to freely reconnect with the world to enable the economy to recover. Otherwise, the aforementioned new policies are not able to benefit the convention and exhibition industry, and our industry is unable to bounce back and Hong Kong will lose advantages to other Asian cities.”

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