Speeches and Presentations




LCQ20: Promoting development of convention and exhibition industries in
Hong Kong

Following is a written reply by the Secretary for Commerce and Economic Development, Mr Gregory So, to a question by the Hon Paul Tse in the Legislative Council today (May 2):

Question:

Recently, a financial television programme which analysed the development of the tourism, exhibition and convention industries has reported that in Singapore and Shanghai, designated departments or tourism authorities are responsible for developing their tourism, exhibition and convention industries in a "through-train" manner (including hardware facilities and complementary policies) and have achieved excellent results. The programme has also pointed out that the Hong Kong Convention and Exhibition Centre (HKCEC) in Wan Chai cannot fully facilitate the development of the convention and exhibition industries due to limitation in space, and that the AsiaWorld-Expo (AWE) in Tung Chung is all along under-utilised (with an average utilisation rate of about 8 per cent only) because of a lack of ancillary tourism facilities such as transport, hotels, restaurants and attractions. Some members of the trade have relayed that despite the huge expenses incurred by the Hong Kong Tourism Board (HKTB) on promotion all these years, there is still no concrete planning for the development of the tourism, exhibition and convention industries in Hong Kong, and that their development is slow and promotion is ineffective. In this connection, will the Government inform this Council:

(a) of the policies to be adopted by the present Government in the remainder of its current term to promote the development of the convention industry and to raise the utilisation rate of AWE; whether it has assessed if the lack of policy support and ancillary facilities, such as transport, hotels and shops, etc. to tie in with the operation of AWE has caused Hong Kong's convention industry to lag far behind Singapore;

(b) given that it has been reported that the Chief Executive-elect will split the Commerce and Economic Development Bureau and an "industry, commerce and tourism bureau" will be formed, whether the "industry, commerce and tourism bureau" will handle issues relating to the tourism, exhibition and convention industries in a centralised manner as well as follow the practices adopted by Singapore of providing integrated development for the relevant industries in a "through-train" approach;

(c) whether it knows HKTB's expenditure on promoting the convention and exhibition industries in each of the past three years; whether it knows and whether it has compared the current actual revenues generated from the convention and exhibition industries in Hong Kong and Singapore; whether the Government has assessed if the development of Hong Kong's convention and exhibition industries can compete with that of Singapore after years of substantial spending by HKTB on the promotion of the industries; if the assessment outcome is in the negative, of the reasons for that; the respective numbers of exhibitions, conventions and exhibition-cum-convention activities held at HKCEC and AWE in each of the past three years, as well as the respective numbers of participants; whether it has assessed if factors such as the limited space of the convention and exhibition venues, insufficient transport and ancillary facilities, inadequate policy promotion efforts, as well as poor planning and development, etc. are the reasons for the impeded development of the relevant industries;

(d) whether the Government has assessed if HKCEC and AWE are at present in a competitive relationship; of the policy coordination provided by the Government or whether it will offer incentives to encourage and foster cooperation between them on diverting exhibition and convention activities, so as to optimise the use of the capacities of the two venues; and

(e) whether the Government has assessed if the present situation of HKCEC and AWE being operated by two separate management companies reflects the absence of aligned management, and whether such situation has hindered the cooperation between the two exhibition venues and the production of synergy effect; of the policies to be implemented by the Government to promote the cooperation between the two companies to enhance the competitiveness of Hong Kong's convention and exhibition industries?

Reply:

President,

The Government has been striving to enhance Hong Kong's advantages and appeal as a capital for international Meetings, Incentive Travels, Conventions and Exhibitions (MICE). The Government has not only invested in the construction of Hong Kong's two major convention and exhibition facilities, namely the Hong Kong Convention and Exhibition Centre (HKCEC) and the AsiaWorld-Expo (AWE), but has also established the Meetings and Exhibitions Hong Kong (MEHK) office under the Hong Kong Tourism Board (HKTB) in November 2008, to promote Hong Kong as one of the prime destination for MICE events and travel.

Since its establishment, MEHK has supported over 4 000 MICE events staged in Hong Kong. Amongst them, about 1 400 events have been secured through MEHK's lobbying efforts. Large-scale MICE events includes the Asian Aerospace International Expo and Congress, SWIFT International Banking Operations Seminar, InfoComm Asia, World Congress of Nephrology, FDI Annual World Dental Congress, Spoon Art Fair Hong Kong 12, IAAPA Asian Attractions Expo, JCI Asia-Pacific Conference, International Trademark Association Annual Meeting, News World Summit etc.

The expenditure on MICE promotion incurred by the MEHK established under HKTB in the past three years is summarised as follows:-

Financial Year
-----------------
    Promotional Budget ($ million)
-------------------------------------
2009-10 47.4
2010-11 39.2
2011-12 47.4

We do not have any information on the MICE related investment and benefit in Singapore. For Hong Kong, the number of overnight MICE visitors has continued to increase over the past two years. In 2011, there were 1.56 million MICE overnight visitors, an increase of 9.3 per cent over 2010. These MICE visitors are usually high-spending visitors. The per capita spending of overnight MICE visitors in 2011 was $9,187, an increase of 8.4 per cent over 2010 ($8,475) and 25.3 per cent higher than the per capita spending of overall overnight visitors in 2011 ($7,333). Hong Kong was selected as "Asia's Best City for Business Events" by the prominent MICE publication CEI Asia Magazine in 2011 and as "Best Business City in the World" for three consecutive years (i.e. 2009 to 2011) in the readers' poll organised by another business magazine, Business Traveller Asia Pacific. According to the MICE survey conducted by HKTB, nearly 90 per cent of the interviewees considered Hong Kong a major MICE destination in Asia Pacific. The above has reflected the effectiveness of Hong Kong's work on the promotion of MICE tourism.

The number of exhibition, convention and exhibition cum convention staged at HKCEC in the previous three years is as follows:

Exhibition
-------------
Convention
--------------
Exhibition cum Convention
-----------------------------------
2009 109
[3,836,100]
11
[7,030]
15
[10,274]
2010 110
[4,608,559]
15
[11,009]
26
[44,088]
2011 117
[4,604,532]
13
[23,212]
19
[31,913]

Note: Figures in [ ] refer to the total number of participants in that year.

Separately, the number of exhibition, convention and exhibition cum convention staged at AWE in the previous three years is as follows:

Exhibition
-------------
Convention
--------------
Exhibition cum Convention
-----------------------------------
2009-10 34
[330,000]
27
[117,800]
2
[2,200]
2010-11 40
[360,000]
37
[168,700]
1
[1,300]
2011-12 41
[380,000]
50
[249,500]
1
[500]

Note: Figures in [ ] refer to the total number of participants in that year.

HKCEC and AWE, each having its own advantages, are major convention and exhibition facilities in Hong Kong. Since HKCEC was established much earlier and its location being much more convenient than that of AWE, the venue has all along been enjoying a higher utilisation rate. While the HKCEC has been operating for over 23 years, the AWE has only been established for about six years and still needs more time to build up its customer base and business. The Government will continue to work on improving the utilisation of the existing convention and exhibition facilities, including encouraging the Hong Kong Trade Development Council (TDC) and other organisations to stage more exhibitions at AWE and to better utilise the existing convention and exhibition facilities through the adoption of "one show, two venues" or "two shows, two venues" approaches as well as further strengthening the public transportation arrangements for AWE. With the joint efforts of the Government and various parties, AWE has started to gain recognition from the industry and public in recent years, resulting in more MICE events staged in Hong Kong. In fact, the number of major exhibition and convention at AWE experienced double digit growth in both 2009-10 and 2010-11.

HKCEC and AWE, operated by two management companies, provide the market with two different choices of venues. HKCEC, located in the downtown area, has been a popular venue for consumer products related trade fairs in Hong Kong. The column-free, high ceiling design of AWE is suitable for hosting exhibitions involving large exhibits. AWE offers convenient access for exhibitors and visitors from the airport and has superb connections to the Mainland via bus services. Hence, the types of exhibition held at AWE and AWE's clientele are not exactly the same as those of HKCEC. Having said that, there has been cooperation between the two venues from time to time. In 2011, TDC has organised a total of five exhibitions at AWE, including the Hong Kong International Printing and Packaging Fair, Sports Source Asia, Hong Kong International Building and Decoration Materials and Hardware Fair, Eco Expo Asia-International Trade Fair on Environmental Protection and the first Better Living Expo, which was organised together with the Paper Communication Exhibition Services in July last year. During the staging period of these fairs, there were also exhibitions with related topics like the Book Fair, Gift Fair and Lighting Fair staging at HKCEC. TDC has arranged shuttle bus services between AWE and HKCEC, to increase the attraction of these fairs. Apart from this, TDC has cooperated with Global Sources to provide free shuttle bus services between AWE and HKCEC for the buyers during mega exhibitions in April and October since 2010. More than 11 000 people have benefited from this service. The direct connection services were well received by visitors to the fairs.

The Office of the Chief Executive-Elect is making preparation for the establishment of the new Government on July 1, 2012, including the reorganisation of policy bureaux. The relevant arrangements will be announced in due course. Meanwhile, the existing Government policy of promoting Hong Kong as one of the MICE capitals in the world will continue.

Wednesday, May 2, 2012

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