Bolder steps forward: Hong Kong

Multiple infrastructure projects will soon come online in Hong Kong, prompting greater confidence among MICE players in courting new events and businesses. Prudence Lui reports

Bold-HKG

With numerous infrastructure projects like the Hong Kong-Zhuhai-Macao Bridge (HZMB), Tuen Mun – Chek Lap Kok Link and the third runway of Hong Kong International Airport (HKIA) well underway, Hong Kong’s Lantau Island is poised to become an even greater force to be reckoned with.

The country is already a MICE hub thanks to its direct international air connections as well as links with major cities along the Pearl River Delta.

AsiaWorld-Expo’s (AWE) CEO, Allen Ha, pointed out the HZMB will further facilitate the flow of people, cargo and services, bringing over 80 million people to a market with unprecedented opportunities for new business growth.

Ha explained: “Many organisers have already made strategic moves to relocate, or introduced new shows in Hong Kong, to enjoy the first-mover advantages and pave the way to grow their shows in a highly prospective market. For instance, after Asia Fruit Logistica’s relocation to AWE in 2012, the organiser Global Produce Events has also teamed up with Cool Logistics Resources Limited to launch the inaugural Cool Logistics Asia conference, also held at AWE, last year.”

AWE is also collaborating with neighbouring cities. Last year, it signed a partnership with Zhuhai International Convention and Exhibition Centre (ZHICEC). They will jointly promote local and international sales and marketing opportunities, including working together on mega conferences to provide the concept of “one event, two venues”.

Attractions are also gearing up for bigger crowds and larger events.

Hong Kong Disneyland Resort (HKDL) will open its third hotel in 2017. The 750-room Disney Explorers Lodge will boost the resort’s capacity to accommodate larger groups.

Ngong Ping 360 is counting on the HZMB to lift its visitorship as the future link will make it more convenient for MICE groups from Macau and Zhuhai to visit Hong Kong.

Managing director of Ngong Ping 360, Stella Kwan, said: “For instance, they can consider visiting Hong Kong for a business event and do short stays in the country to enjoy a Lantau excursion, or have a joint Macau/Hong Kong itinerary. (Similarly), MICE groups that visit Hong Kong may also make a short trip to Macau or Zhuhai for sightseeing or business meetings. The three destinations will complement each other and become a MICE hub by developing joint promotions and partnership projects.”

Kwan said her team is preparing for upcoming opportunities driven by HZMB, and is “considering teaming up with other theme parks and attractions in Zhuhai or Macau to develop new partnership products”.

Hong Kong SkyCity Marriott Hotel, which has stepped up its presence in Zhuhai, Shenzhen and Guangzhou, is planning to tackle the anticipated demand surge with refreshed and upgraded meeting spaces. The hotel has also reached out to meeting organisers to work together on long-term events and projects.

Stella

General manager of Hong Kong SkyCity Marriott Hotel, Michael Muller, said: “With our unique positioning next to AWE, HKIA and the Boundary Crossing Facilities, we anticipate more event organisers will look for opportunities in Lantau. As Hong Kong’s city centre is usually busy and congested, the new connection will (aid us when it comes to) exploring new opportunities with MICE operators based in Zhuhai, Shenzhen and Guangzhou. We also hope to further engage event organisers in South-east Asia who now have the option to hold dual-destination events in Zhuhai, Macau and Chek Lap Kok.”

Team Building Asia, which does more than 20 events a year, regards Lantau as a destination to watch. 

Its co-founder and director, David Simpson, said: “Access to venues (in Lantau) is not perfect now but the new HZMB and infrastructure developments – like the expansion of HKDL and HKIA – will hopefully change that. For sure, new infrastructure will make it easier for teambuilding companies like ourselves to get our equipment to venues, which are currently limited due to restricted roads and areas.”

{Talking numbers}
airport
3.4
The percentage year-on-year growth in overnight MICE arrivals into Hong Kong in 2Q2016, crossing the 828,000 mark

407,693
The total number of visitors from China in the first six months of 2016, up 1.5 per cent from the same time last year

20,000
The total number of participants – hailing from China, Taiwan, Hong Kong and Macau – who attended the three-day Nu Skin Greater China Regional Convention. It was held at the AsiaWorld-Expo in June 2016

{Developments to Watch}

1The construction of Hong Kong International Airport’s three-runway system is underway. The upcoming development on Lantau Island will lead to the formation of the Aero-Bridgehead Economy Zone, where the new commercial and residential developments aim to drive long-term economic growth.

2The Tuen Mun–Chek Lap Kok Link will connect HKIA and Hong Kong’s north-west New Territories to the economic powerhouses of Shenzhen and Qianhai. Travelling time between Hong Kong and the Pearl River Delta cities will be significantly shortened. This will further facilitate the flow of people, cargo and services, bringing over 80 million people to a vibrant and affluent market with unprecedented opportunities for new business growth.

3The opening of the Iron Man Experience attraction at Hong Kong Disneyland Resort in late 2016, as well as the 750-room Disney Explorers Lodge in 2017, will provide more themed settings for business events. With a third hotel in place, Hong Kong Disneyland Resort will be able to take in larger corporate groups.

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