AMID the “Hong Kong is Back” fervour inspired by the Sevens Rugby tournament and a senior bankers’ event was an international congress whose delegates also enjoyed the city’s sporting entertainment and nightlife.
While the return of the HK Sevens after three years and the Global Finance Leaders’ Summit held in the days running up to the weekend of rugby and beer grabbed the headlines, Hong Kong Tourism Board (HKTB) welcomed back the Junior Chamber International (JCI) World Congress.
The congress, which was last hosted by Hong Kong in 1993, involved more than 4,000 participants worldwide logging on gto the hybrid event while more than 500 attended in person at Nina Hotel Tseun Wan West, which was also the venue for the opening, welcome party and gala dinner.
Some 450 of the delegates at the physical event were from Hong Kong while 40-plus were non-local participants. Physical attendees arrived from Venezuela, Cambodia, Dominican Republic, Indonesia, Monaco, Myanmar, Mongolia, and the Philippines among other countries and regions.
“To give the participants a warm welcome and to further enrich their experience, HKTB arranged for the delegation to revel in mega-events around the city, such as the world-class sports extravaganza Hong Kong Sevens and Hong Kong Wine & Dine Festival,” a spokesman for the city’s tourism board said.
Hong Kong simply has everything for a world congress, not only the top-notch venues with great capacities and technologies, but also the stunning cityscape, as well as the breathtaking landscapes from mountains to the sea…
Argenis Argon, JCI president
Testimonials from JCI board members attending the congress in person praised Hong Kong’s capability as a conference destination with plenty to offer delegates seeking to relax after a day of business.
“Hong Kong simply has everything for a world congress, not only the top-notch venues with great capacities and technologies, but also the stunning cityscape, as well as the breathtaking landscapes from mountains to the sea. The city’s young talents and their professionalism and warm welcoming are amazing,” said JCI president Argenis Angulo.
The congress included a metaverse exhibition as a new element for engagement. Participants also received NFTs of Hong Kong icons, such as egg waffles and fish balls as souvenirs.
“This year’s congress will be a milestone in the history of JCI in Hong Kong, as it incorporated the first-ever metaverse experience, blending technologies with local cultures by offering HK souvenirs in NFTs for all delegates, on top of enjoying real food and immersive culture in the city physically,” Angulo added.
HKTB supported the congress from the bidding stage, event preparation, promotional support, to funding and in-kind support to programme enhancement. Echoing one of the congress’s three themes on sustainable tourism, JCI Hong Kong encouraged young people to create videos of Hong Kong for Sustainable Tourism video contest before the congress. Kenneth Wong, general manager, MICE & Cruise, HKTB, was invited as the contest’s head judge.
The congress comes after more than two years of Covid restrictions hitting Hong Kong’s MICE industry with international organisers opting for rival cities to hold their events. The banking summit, Rugby Sevens and now the JCI World Congress show that large events can be held with certain restrictions as city authorities slowly ease the anti-Covid curbs This has given confidence to other organisers to commit to events such as the Cyclothon, Art Basel and the Clockenflap music festival.
HKTB chairman Pang Yiu-kai said: “Hong Kong is honoured to be the host city of 2022 JCI World Congress. The HKTB is glad to support the JCI’s meaningful initiatives in cultivating aspiring young leaders. I am glad to see that after two years, the JCI continues to foster stronger bonds between its global members. I believe all JCI delegates would be inspired by the city’s entrepreneurial spirit while enjoying what Hong Kong has to offer.”
Main picture: Dane Cheng, HKTB executive director, greets JCI delegates seated at the Hong Kong Rugby Sevens