On May 25, Meeting & Exhibition Hong Kong (MEHK) outlined recovery plans and developed a host of targeted promotions for the various business events segments to restart a sector that has been held captive by the Covid-19 pandemic.
These include some brand-new initiatives like Asia’s first-ever virtual business networking platform for destination promotion; a new campaign; a new hotel funding scheme; as well as fresh itineraries with a focus on CSR and wellness activities.
For instance, the MeetON@HK campaign was created, and to complement this, a new online business events matching platform will be launched. This online marketplace will be a place for business events stakeholders will be invited to promote their products, as well as make appointments with potential buyers.
So far, the platform boasts over 70 hotel partners and Cathay Pacific, featuring products such as meeting packages for small business events groups. There will be flight offers by Cathay Pacific, alongside hospitality offers from attractions.
MEHK also believes that incentive travel will continue to be a motivating tool in the post-Covid-19 business environment, although event planners are predicted to favour shorter trips, as well as CSR and wellness themes.
New themed itineraries that were specially developed for incentive groups include agricultural tours in Tai O, Lantau Island; guided forest bathing or tea pairing in Taipo; a floating party at sea; or having dim sum in the dark to support the visually-impaired.
MEHK has also set up a new funding scheme for over 300 licensed hotel partners to capture small-size corporate meeting and conventions. It will be rolled out in June.
According to Kenneth Wong, Hong Kong Tourism Board’s (HKTB) general manager, MICE & cruise and regional director, Europe, no concrete timeline has been announced for the launch of the recovery plans, as there are a number of conditions that MEHK needs to monitor.
These include watching the number of confirmed Covid-19 cases, quarantine requirements, border controls, lockdown measures, air capacity, etc.
Wong said: “We are now focused on planning ahead and getting all the groundwork done. When the time is right, we want to have first-mover advantage, head to overseas markets, start our promotions, and try to recover our business as quickly as possible.”
Judging from the current situation, Wong pointed to Mainland China, and shorthaul markets like Taiwan, South Korea, and Thailand, will most likely be the first few markets to recover. As such, these initial destinations are where HKTB is planning to resume business events promotions.
As Hong Kong was hit by a double whammy of social unrest and Covid-19, overnight business event arrivals registered a drop of 14.2 per cent to 1.7 million, and over 70 events have been postponed or cancelled – representing a loss of 370,000 visitors – this year.