Hope rising in southern China

ILEA members in the Greater Bay Area say inquiries beginning to come back, especially in Hainan island as other side of the Covid-19 curve nears

LIVE-event organisers in southern China are reporting positive signs that a peak in shutdowns as a result of the coronavirus outbreak has already been reached with more clients asking when their events can be held.

Though the authorities in China are discouraging the organising of business events with the battle to contain Covid-19 at a critical stage, the Hong Kong chapter of ILEA (International Live Events Association) said board members in the Greater Bay Area of Guangdong province believe the region may be at “the other side of the curve” when it comes to the surge in business activity shutting down.

Sam Shei, president of ILEA’s local chapter, said a board meeting held last week using video-conferencing heard encouraging reports from members with event operations in Guangzhou, Hainan, Shanghai and Shenzhen.  

“The situation [in mainland] China is under control with associations on Hainan island – where there has so far been no new virus cases – inquiring about holding events,” Shei, who is also the managing director of Showbiz Creations, told MIX.

“Though inquiries have started to come in again, events are still on hold as the central government is still warning that the situation in the entire country is still dangerous and events not encouraged.

“So organisers tell clients they are all in a holding stage in order to answer their inquiries.”

Shei said Shanghai was in a similar situation to Hong Kong with several severe cases reported daily being imported and known to come from people returning from overseas. This has resulted in the Hong Kong regional government adopting stricter measures following a second wave of the virus.

As the economic fallout from the coronavirus gripped Hong Kong, Shei said around 60 staff from  companies providing audiovisual, fabricator, catering, logistics and other services for local events have formed their own association to lobby the government into supporting event suppliers that face going out of business.

Shei said many of these companies were losing more than a HK$1 million a month with some expecting to collapse in the second half of the year.

He said a press conference held by the newly formed association came before support measures were announced by the Hong Kong government.

Businesses were now waiting to see how the government rolls out the HK$400 million set aside in a tourism and hotel sector recovery budget to help the MICE and business events industry.

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