Hong Kong goes ’mega‘ on events

Event producers may fret over the phrase, but gatherings ranging from cultural festivals and art exhibitions to conferences and sports are receiving the mega-event spin

HONG KONG’s top leader John Lee has been reported as declaring a “mega event” once every two days as the city seeks to boost its visitor economy and redefine its international image.

While event planners have raised doubts about what they see as a loose definition of the term mega events, mega it will be – in whatever shape or size – with the phrase becoming a sound-byte in government circles for at least the next few months.

Chief executive John Lee was speaking prior to a meeting of the Executive Council, the Hong Kong government’s de facto cabinet. The 210 events described by officials as mega are expected to attract about 1.7 million travellers and inject HK4.3 billion (US551m) into the city’s economy, the South China Morning Post reported.

More… What HK needs for ‘mega-events’ to succeed

Included in the mega line-up are conferences such as Super Terminal Expo 2024, aimed at the air cargo and logistics sectors and blockchain event SmartCon 2024, which will both  make an Asia debut in Hong Kong. Others among the 210 “mega events” for this year range from arts and cultural activities to sports, trade shows and financial conferences. Trade shows for the F&B, fashion and jewellery markets are also included.

The term has been grabbing local newspaper headlines and providing a spin for PR releases, but the heightened use of “mega events” continues to cause consternation among Hong Kong-based event creators.

Some have expressed concern as to officials’ definition of the phrase, saying that attendees of less than 10,000 falls short of those attending global events such as Art Basel, major tech shows, music festivals or the F1 Grand Prix series. One producer said attendances of 100,000-plus with an economic impact of $100 million and securing international media attention serve as a more genuine definition of mega event.

Backgrounder… Organisers ask: What’s so ‘mega’ about Dior and Chubby Hearts?

Hong Kong’s deputy financial secretary, Michael Wong, followed up his boss John Lee’s comments the following day by announcing calendar of “value for money” events taking place between July and December. City officials expect 210 mega events to be held by the end of the year with the government providing about HK$200m in event subsidies, the Post reported.

The line-up through July-December includes 42 major conferences, 25 arts and culture events, activities, 15 sports competitions, 11 festivals, and 13 events related to finance, the economy and technology.

Look like mega is here to stay, and it’s better than no mega at all!

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