Biz events in HK during Covid are a thing, but here’s the catch

Martin Donovan says the opportunity offered by Hong Kong’s only travel trade and MICE show should be embraced by anyone associated with business events in the city

A RUSH back to events and travel in markets fortunate enough to have reopened has brought its own problems. Event planners seem too busy to devote time to the now postponed PCMA Asia Pacific jamboree and airports in Britain are overwhelmed by the travel frenzy unleashed after two years of lockdowns.

For others, notably the events industry in Hong Kong, it’s becoming a struggle to stay relevant – as well as survive. Covid restrictions ease then tighten again and show little sign of abating enough for companies to devise strategies other than laying people off.

That is why Hong Kong’s only travel-trade show – ITE Hong Kong 2022 –  which includes forums for the meetings and events industry, is holding a display dedicated to the city’s business events industry during its event at Hong Kong Convention and Exhibition Centre, August 18-21.

An invitation is being extended to people and organisations to participate in this gallery by Illustrating events they have managed to organise over the past two years. The suggestion is likely to get nostrils flaring in some quarters, but the TKS initiative is meant to help the city’s event organisers. MIX sees this as offering a community forum and to meet something that may well become elusive to those in the city’s travel and events industry: staying relevant to each other and in markets where some form of normalcy has resumed.

As MIX reported last week, suppliers such as musicians, performers and AV support crews have been hit hard. Yet Hong Kong Tourism Board’s MEHK platform shows a calendar of business events taking place through this summer most of which are organised by HKTDC, the government’s trade development agency that has what other event operators do not have… deep pockets.

Next month, ITE’s events gallery gives planners a chance to show how they have been pulling through, whether it has been organising a wedding, nurturing a charity to aid performers whose livelihoods have been dealt a blow by the downturn or managing events held online or with the backing of larger entities.

Recovery & Reconnect are said to be the themes of ITE’s “Domestic MICE Corner”. They may as well as add “relevancy’ somewhere. Looks like it’s up to you to make it relevant.


KEEN readers of this newsletter will notice that the last two editions have arrived in your inboxes on Friday instead of the usual Thursday. This is due to your editor being isolated at one of the units at Penny’s Bay after succumbing to Covid last week.

Happy to report that I am now back here at the MIX desk and – as written above – endeavouring to keep Asia’s business events industry relevant despite the upheaval wrought by Covid restrictions. A few of you have asked that I use these columns to revisit my recent incarceration at one of Hong Kong’s isolation facilities with a diary of that experience.

I shy from the challenge. Instead, I hand you over to a blogger who has gained cult status across Hong Kong as he follows the ins and outs of the city’s anti-Covid fight. This Twitter thread from Aaron Busch (aka @Tripperhead) is particularly relevant to those venturing back to the SAR. It’s about what happens if you test positive with a rapid anti-gen test on arrival at the airport with the assumption you’re heading to a distinguished quarantine hotel like the Novotel Citygate.

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