Recent announcements of year-end international events in Hong Kong, such as the Global Financial Leaders’ Investment Summit and Cathay Pacific/HSBC Hong Kong Sevens, have ignited optimism among travel trade players in the city’s reopening for tourism.
The Hong Kong Rugby Union (HKRU) said a week ago that the Cathay Pacific/HSBC HK Sevens will resume on November 4 to 6, 2022. It was last held in Hong Kong in 2019.
Although there is just a little more than three months to prepare for the sporting event, HKRU chairman Patrick Donovan is confident that the tournament would be a special one. Communications with all stakeholders have kicked off, and more details on the event as well as ticketing will soon be available.
The Cathay Pacific/HSBC HK Sevens will follow on from the November 1 and 2 financial summit organised by Hong Kong Monetary Authority. The two-day event seeks to attract global financial representatives from China and international financial institutions, which will help to re-establish Hong Kong’s position as a global financial hub.
Charlotte Travel’s CEO, Jackie Harris, said the announcements were “encouraging”, and the return of such international events could be a “watershed moment” for Hong Kong.
Larry Lo, CEO Asia for Corporate Travel Management, underlined the importance of international events to Hong Kong’s travel and tourism industry, as such gatherings fuel the creation of local jobs, stimulate the local economy, support tourism operators, and showcase the region to an international audience.
“After a period of lockdown, (having) an international sporting event in Hong Kong is a positive step in the right direction, and sends the right message that we are on the path to reopening,” remarked Lo, who expressed hopes of seeing a concrete roadmap from the government that outlines the destination’s strategy to rebuild inbound business.
Lo said the removal of travel restrictions is crucial for the rugby event to score a stronger attendance, beyond the presence of sporting officials and media representatives.
He said: “Hong Kong is a major transit hub for many travellers and an event like this might encourage some to stay for a night or two before continuing onwards to their final destination.”
Meanwhile, positivity around Hong Kong’s reopening has also translated into improved outbound travel business, noted Harris. Charlotte Travel is seeing more clients returning to frequent travels, and taking up longer itineraries to make the most of their time abroad before returning to Hong Kong.