LCQ9: Management and development of Asia World-Expo
Following is a written reply by the Acting Secretary for Commerce and Economic Development, Mr Godfrey Leung, to a question by the Hon Regina Ip in the Legislative Council today (February 19):
With the successive completion of infrastructure projects such as the Hong Kong-Zhuhai-Macao Bridge (HZMB) and the Tuen Mun-Chek Lap Kok Link in the coming few years, commuting between Hong Kong and the Mainland will become faster and more convenient. Some members of the exhibition industry have forecast that the utilisation of the AsiaWorld-Expo (AWE) on North Lantau will increase substantially by then. In addition, in his reply to a question raised by a Member of this Council last year, the Secretary for Commerce and Economic Development said that he would continue to explore with the industry ways to enhance the co-operation between the Hong Kong Convention and Exhibition Centre (HKCEC) and AWE, so as to facilitate a more effective utilisation of the overall convention and exhibition facilities in Hong Kong. In this connection, will the Government inform this Council:
(1) given that the utilisation of the exhibition facilities at AWE almost reached saturation on eight show days in 2012, whether the authorities have any plan to expand AWE to cater for the increased demand for exhibition facilities concomitant with the commissioning of the aforesaid infrastructure facilities, as well as to tie in with the authorities' policy objective of giving full play to the benefit of HZMB facilitating the "bridgehead economy" in Tung Chung and the neighbouring areas; if they do not have such plans, of the reasons for that; and
(2) as it has been learnt that the Hong Kong Trade Development Council is conducting studies on acquisition of the operating right of AWE with a view to putting the two exhibition venues under the operation of one management company, so as to facilitate more effective co-ordination on rental matters of exhibition facilities, whether the authorities have conducted any feasibility study and formulated specific plans in connection with acquisition of the operating right of AWE; if they have not, of the reasons for that?
(1) At present, there are two major convention and exhibition facilities in Hong Kong, namely the Hong Kong Convention and Exhibition Centre (HKCEC) in Wan Chai and the AsiaWorld-Expo (AWE) on Lantau Island. The supply of convention and exhibition facilities at the two venues is tight during the major purchasing seasons in recent years.
The convention and exhibition industries are important to the economic development of Hong Kong. Therefore, the Government has just commissioned a consultancy study early this year to assess the demand for convention and exhibition facilities in Hong Kong in the coming 15 years, taking into account the situation in Hong Kong and the global and regional developments of the convention and exhibition industries. The Government will, according to the future development need and taking into account relevant factors such as cost effectiveness, consider appropriate measures to cater for the development of the convention and exhibition industries, including whether to expand the existing convention and exhibition facilities etc.
(2) Although HKCEC and AWE are operated by different companies, the Government has been encouraging HKCEC and AWE to enhance collaboration to effectively utilise the existing convention and exhibition facilities in Hong Kong. A good example is the Hong Kong Jewellery and Gem Fair, which has been held concurrently at HKCEC and AWE by a private organiser since September 2009. The number of exhibitors has increased from 3 061 in 2009 to 3 633 in 2013 (i.e. an increase of about 19 per cent), while the number of participants has also increased from 39 146 to 52 651 (i.e. an increase of about 35 per cent). The Hong Kong Trade Development Council (TDC) will stage the international jewellery shows at HKCEC and AWE in March 2014 under a similar model for the first time, to better utilise the two venues allowing room for expansion.
As regards venue co-ordination, the Meetings and Exhibitions Hong Kong (MEHK) under the Hong Kong Tourism Board has been assisting organisers interested in staging conventions and exhibitions in Hong Kong to identify suitable convention and exhibition venues and providing them with one-stop professional support. In the past, there were individual organisers interested in staging conventions or exhibitions in Hong Kong and yet could not identify needed venues in HKCEC during their specified dates. The MEHK helped introduce AWE to these organisers for consideration. The work of the MEHK to assist convention and exhibition organisers to identify suitable venues would not be affected though the two venues are managed by different companies. Regarding the report that TDC is conducting studies on the acquisition of the operating right of AWE, TDC stated publicly earlier last year that it had not currently taken any action regarding the acquisition of the operating right of AWE.
Wednesday, February 19, 2014