HK chief executive kills earlier Wan Chai convention centre plans, details replacement

Hong Kong chief executive Carrie Lam, who came into power on July 1, has scrapped the government’s decision in February to develop a new convention centre on the Wan Chai Sports Ground site.

In its place, Lam’s administration has approved a plan to demolish three government buildings next to the Hong Kong Convention and Exhibition Centre (HKCEC) in Wan Chai North. The site will see the construction of a new wing with about 23,000m2 of convention and exhibition facilities, all conveniently connected to HKCEC. As well, office space will be provided in the new venue.

Lam: need for more venues to not lose out on large-sized events

In her maiden policy speech yesterday, Lam acknowledged Hong Kong’s pressing need for more new convention and exhibition venues in order not to miss out on large-scale international events seeking a host city.

This decision from the newly-elected chief executive came on the back of a detailed study.

Meanwhile, Hong Kong will continue with its plans to build a new convention centre above the MTR Exhibition Station of the Shatin-Central Link. This facility will provide 15,000m2 of convention space.

In the longer term, Wan Chai Sports Ground may be earmarked for future convention and exhibition facilities.

While local business events specialists applaud the new decision, they also hope the new facility will rise quickly before more overflow events are lost.

Tour Billion Travel’s managing director, Tony Lam, said: “We don’t have enough venue space as (existing centres are) very full during exhibition season. Hopefully, (the new venue) won’t take too long to complete as we are losing MICE traffic to neighbouring destinations.”

Holiday World Tours, managing director, Paul Leung, reckoned that the massive new centre could take five years to complete, and added that Hong Kong has lost mega events to Macau.

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