Gold glimmers at end of HK Gay Games rainbow

Organisers of Asia’s first Gay Games anticipate HK$1 billion in local economic impact and much-needed windfall for city’s events and hotel sectors. 75,000-plus spectators and 12,000 athletes expected for 2022 event

HONG KONG’s event organisers, suppliers and hotels are in for a rainbow windfall of revenue with Asia’s first Gay Games expected to inject HK$1 billion into the local economy.

Organisers of the nine-day extravaganza are working with local sports governing bodies to hold the games and have expressed thanks to the Hong Kong SAR Government for the “progress and support” they have received in working to produce a secure and safe event.

Gay Games 11 Hong Kong is scheduled for November 11-19, 2022 and is expected to attract 75,000-plus spectators in addition to 12,000 athletes and artists from more than a hundred countries and regions.

“It’s the biggest international sporting event coming to Hong Kong, and the largest international multi-sport and cultural event to ever be held here,” a spokesman for Gay Games 11 Hong Kong (GGHK) told MIX.

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“For the events industry, GGHK is a great opportunity to be involved in a world-class event of this scale in Hong Kong.

“People from all over the world will come to experience Hong Kong through sport, arts, and culture and millions of pictures will be posted on promoting Hong Kong.”

GGHK added that the games would bring HK$1 billion (about US$128.7 million) into the local economy through an estimated 300,000 hotel nights, ground transportation, air travel, F&B, retail, tours and cultural experiences.

The 2018 Gay Games in Paris – the event’s 10th edition – generated US$127 million in economic activity, GGHK said.

Under the theme “Unity in Diversity”, the games will also feature opening and closing ceremonies, and a festival village. Organisers say it is set to be one of the world’s largest LGBTQ events in 2022 and will leave a legacy of “unity and positive attitudes” in Hong Kong.

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GGHK emphasised it is a volunteer-run non-political and non-profit body set up to organise what would be a “large diversity sports event in Hong Kong, open for all and for the first time in Asia”.

“Gay Games Hong Kong’s unique combination of sport, arts, culture, fun and community brings together diverse groups of people to experience moments of joy, creating unity and positive attitudes that will last a lifetime in Hong Kong, Asia and beyond.”

The games would be considered a mega-event in terms of attracting overseas visitors to Hong Kong. The Hong Kong Sevens, the city’s main sporting extravaganza and which has been postponed due to the Covid pandemic, sees about 40,000 spectators for each of its three days. The 2017 Sevens brought HK$380 million into the local economy and more than half of fans travelled from overseas, according to the Hong Kong Rugby Union.

With vaccinations being rolled out and hopes of authorities establishing travel bubbles, GGHK is also eyeing developments in the worldwide struggle to contain Covid.

“The global pandemic has been at the forefront as GGHK works with local governing bodies and groups to secure the plans for the upcoming games. To this end, GGHK is immensely grateful for the progress and support they have received from the HK Government SAR. We will continue our work to produce a secure and safe event.”

Meanwhile, overseas spectators will not be permitted to travel to the Tokyo Summer Olympics (July 23 to August 8). Organisers say they cannot guarantee that Covid-safety can be extended beyond athletes and games’ participants. Ticket purchases will be refunded but not air fares or hotel bookings.

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