ORGANISERS of a travel-trade and MICE show in Hong Kong have had their hopes boosted by a poll showing pent-up tourism demand and reports of governments discussing ways of re-opening borders.
A spokesman for TKS Exhibitions, the organisers of ITE Hong Kong, said the company has been monitoring how officials and the travel trade has been reacting to developments since Covid-19 grounded the tourism and events industry.
Following “consideration and consultations” of the responsse by authorities to the drop in coronavirus cases in the region, and polls conducted by TKS, the organisers have decided to go ahead with the show in August.
“Within days of our recent invitation by email or on Facebook, we received hundreds of registrations from trade visitors and well over 1,500 replies to our public survey,” said the spokesman.
“Yes, there will be a smaller ITE this year, but it will have a big recovery message.”
Hong Kong International Travel Expo and MICE Show has been set for August 7-9, at Hong Kong Convention and Exhibition Centre. The event features one trade day and two days open to the public.
“The August date is timely for recovery and, hopefully, holding ITE can be seen positively as a message of recovery.”
Among the respondents to the poll issued on social media by TKS last weekend, more than 40 per cent expressed an interest in visiting neighbouring regions once border controls are eased.
Southeast Asia destinations were favoured by more than a quarter of respondents; 22 per cent chose Australia and New Zealand, while the vast majority (70 per cent-plus) mentioned Japan, South Korea, Taiwan and other parts of East Asia.
The One Belt One Road Trade Forum (Tourism) is set to return to ITE, while the Hong Kong Exhibition and Convention Industry Association is also planning to hold its annual seminar and cocktails. ITE will also feature seminars on travel and business events.
With 80 per cent of the show’s 12,000 regional buyers and trade visitors coming from Guangdong, Hong Kong and Macau, organisers expressed confidence that travel restrictions would be eased enough by August.
Organiser TKS is more cautious, however, when it comes to visitors from further afield.
“Core ITE visitors not much affected, but this is not so for the 20 per cent trade visitors from other parts of China and Asia – so, overall fewer trade visitors expected,” the spokesman said, adding this was the reason for reducing the show’s trade days from two to one, but trade visitors can visit the showfloor throughout the event.
Among the health precaution measures are masks for all participants, temperature checks, spacing between booth clusters, wider aisles and limits on visitor number when necessary.
ITE Hong Kong 2020 is organised by TKS Exhibition Services and supported by China’s Ministry of Culture and Tourism, Hong Kong Tourism Board, Macao Government Tourism Office and the Travel Industry Council of Hong Kong, among others.