Hong Kong’s position within the thriving Greater Bay Area (GBA) has helped to catalyse the recovery of the city’s business events industry, with 98 per cent of regular B2B shows now back in action.
This has helped to elevate the number of overnight business events arrivals between January and July 2023, which is now more than 65 per cent of the average figure for the same seven-month period from 2017 to 2019.
Marilyn Tham, Meetings & Exhibitions Hong Kong’s deputy general manager MICE, described this as “a very strong recovery momentum”, despite the city only reopening in full this February.
She noted that Hong Kong used to conduct almost 90 international tradeshows every year pre-pandemic, spread between Hong Kong Convention and Exhibition Centre and AsiaWorld-Expo. “Most” are back, stated Tham, with only a few requiring some time to return after relocating to other cities during the Covid years.
Asia Fruits Logistica is one such event. It was well-established in Hong Kong for years, but had to move to Bangkok in 2022 after Covid’s disruption. It resumed in Hong Kong this month to “overwhelming interest”, shared Tham.
She said: “Many tradeshows have returned to Hong Kong because of the lure of GBA. Hong Kong was positioned as the world’s meeting place for a long time, but with the rise of GBA, Hong Kong is now the MICE hub for the wider region.”
GBA comprises nine cities in China’s Guangdong Province, Macau and Hong Kong. The population of Guangdong Province alone is 86 million despite occupying just one per cent of China’s land area; it contributes 11 per cent to China’s national GDP. The province is also home to many MNCs and unicorns, with 25 Fortune 500 companies this year being located there, especially in Guangzhou and Shenzhen cities.
“When organisers hold their events in Hong Kong, they can easily boost delegate numbers due to the GBA population and great connectivity around the area via the Hong Kong-Zhuhai-Macau Bridge and the high-speed rail that links Hong Kong with China’s Shenzhen in just 20 minutes. They also have easier access to Fortune 500 companies that are potential sponsors,” Tham said.