In its latest 2023-24 budget, the Hong Kong government has pumped an additional HK$200 million (US$25.5 million) into funding the Hong Kong Tourism Board’s efforts in securing more business events for the destination.
The funding is in addition to an incentive scheme for recurrent exhibitions announced back in October 2022 during a Policy Address. Under this three-year scheme from July 1, 2023, to June 30, 2026, recurrent international exhibitions organised at the Hong Kong Convention and Exhibition Centre and AsiaWorld-Expo will receive an incentive equivalent to 100 per cent of the venue rental, while other recurrent exhibitions will receive an incentive equivalent to 50 per cent of the venue rental, subject to a cap of HK$20 million per exhibition.
Recurrent exhibitions are those classified as being held every year or every two years. They must be international events with over 50 per cent of participants from abroad, or at least 500 participants (including exhibitors and buyers), whichever is lower.
Informa Markets’ executive vice president – commercial development, Michael Duck, responded positively to the announcements, stating that the large-scale trade fairs the company organises already have a “history of bringing international exhibitors and buyers to Hong Kong”.
He pointed out that these schemes would help event organisers like Informa with the “huge costs” incurred.
Upcoming large-scale international trade fairs Informa Markets will be organising this year include the Jewellery & Gem Asia (June 2023), Jewellery & Gem World Hong Kong (September 2023), Cosmoprof Asia (November 14-17, 2023). The APLF Leather and Fashion show will also return in March 2024.
Founder of one the largest model car exhibitions in Asia, Hong Kong Toycar Salon, and co-founder of Market Hubs, Lierence Li, also welcomed the announcements but pointed out that the beneficiaries would only be large exhibition organisers, as there is little support for the small and medium-sized organisers.
Li added: “During the pandemic, many in the exhibition industry have switched careers, (which is why) exhibition costs have increased more than 20 per cent. This hinders the industry’s overall recovery.”
As such, he suggested that the government could help provide more support such as by offering larger incentives to encourage the adoption of technology such as artificial intelligence to aid in the manpower woes.