IBTM says Hello, Hong Kong

First IBTM Asia Pacific set for Hong Kong in 2025 following postponements to inaugural event in Singapore. HKTB says dynamic pitch in Barcelona highlighting Greater Bay, Airport City, novel visitor attractions and role as gateway to mainland China wins the day

IBTM has switched locations for its first Asia Pacific event to Hong Kong after plans for the inaugural show in Singapore were hit by postponements as a result of the Covid pandemic. A lull in announcements by the business travel and meetings show organiser regarding its first Asia Pacific edition was broken in Barcelona during IBTM World.

Hong Kong Tourism Board (HKTB) announced that the city will host IBTM (International Business Travel and Meetings) Asia Pacific in Spring 2025.

The event, part of  the Reed Exhibitions (RX) portfolio, is expected to attract more than 1,500 travel trade and MICE professionals and comes as Hong Kong emerges from Covid restrictions that saw business event organisers choosing rival cities that had eased their own pandemic curbs.

IBTM and Hong Kong tourism reps in Barcelona at IBTM World

Singapore had previously been the much-heralded location for IBTM Asia Pacific, but the city already hosts a major regional trade-trade show – ITB Asia – organised by Messe Berlin (Asia), and is also set to welcome an inaugural Asia edition of a London meetings show.

IBTM made its decision based on a pitch presented by HKTB and Hong Kong industry representatives at IBTM World in Barcelona.

“IBTM’s decision to host its inaugural flagship trade show for the Asia Pacific region in Hong Kong is a strong testament to Hong Kong’s international standing and its unique role as a super-connector of the Greater Bay Area (GBA) by the global MICE industry,” said Pang Yiu-kai, HKTB chairman.

Backgrounder… Covid risk forces IBTM Asia Pacific to 2022

“The event will not only bring more than 1,500 high-yield visitors from the global travel trade and MICE industry to Hong Kong but will also generate positive word-of-mouth with their personal experience. This, in turn, will help bring more MICE events to Hong Kong, creating multiplier-effect contributing to the city’s economy,” Pang said.

HKTB teamed up with the Travel Industry Council of Hong Kong, Hong Kong Hotels Association, Hong Kong Association of Amusement Parks and Attractions, and AsiaWorld-Expo to present the city’s tourism updates and growth. Hong Kong’s uniqueness and strong support from mainland China while being closely connected to the world were also highlighted in addition to the city’s “potential in developing multi-destination tourism in GBA”, according to an announcement issued by HKTB. 

Vasyl Zhygalo, IBTM portfolio director, said: “Hong Kong comes with various competitive edges, such as its diverse choice of venues, convenient transport facilities and the provision  of comprehensive professional support. 

More… Hong Kong, Macau bringing GBA to Barcelona

“Geographically, it is well positioned as a gateway between the world and [mainland China], especially cities in the GBA, which makes the city the ideal host of IBTM Asia Pacific. I am confident that this exhibition will help MICE trade members in different markets establish contacts with each other and explore opportunities in the region,” Zhygalo said.

HKTB would continue to use the city’s “strong fundamentals, new growth opportunities coupled with novel tourism offerings and experiences” to bring more conferences and other business events to Hong Kong. 

“Hong Kong’s new infrastructural developments are also set to take business events to new heights. Excellent accessibility is enabled through state-of-the-art cross-boundary transport infrastructure including the Hong Kong-Zhuhai-Macao Bridge and the High-Speed Rail that connects to 73 mainland stations,” the spokesman said. 

Also highlighted was Hong Kong International Airport (HKIA)’s positioning as an Airport City with the development of SKYCITY and a third runway. This would enable HKIA to handle an annual passenger volume of 120 million and strengthen Hong Kong as an international aviation hub while also creating a new landmark.

Main picture: HKTB’ general manager for MICE & Cruise Kenneth Wong (right) with Vasyl Zhygalo. IBTM portfolio director

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