Hong Kong Government’s Big support for Exhibitions & Conventions amid pandemic.
Associate Editor Abul Fazal reports on the subsidy and speaks with Rajesh Bhagat, South Asia representative of The Hong Kong Trade Development Council (HKTDC), and Steering Committee Member of newly established Council of Indian Exhibition Organisers (CIEO).
The HK$ 1,020 million or US$131 million Subsidy Scheme has been set up under the Government’s Anti-epidemic Fund. Originally slated to be launched in July 2020 as reported by TradeFairTimes, the fund was postponed following the third wave of the pandemic in the country, due to which many of the conventions and exhibitions that were originally scheduled to take place from mid-July to September had been postponed or cancelled.
The Hong Kong Government has launched the Convention and Exhibition Industry Subsidy Scheme on 3rd October 2020 to help ease financial burdens on the local convention and exhibition industry and help attract more domestic and overseas exhibitors, buyers and conference delegates to Hong Kong.
Hong Kong Convention and Exhibition Centre (Management) Limited (HML) Managing Director Monica Lee-Müller commented that the Government’s launch of the Subsidy Scheme in early October will strengthen Hong Kong’s competitiveness as the region’s leading convention and exhibition hub.
Lee-Müller further said “with the on-going pandemic situation overseas, countries are continuously updating their inbound and outbound travel restrictions and compulsory quarantine requirements, as such, many international exhibitions and conventions originally scheduled for the second half of 2020 have been postponed or cancelled.
However, there are some flip side to the scheme as well, one of them being the subsidy deadline. Mega exhibitions typically have long planning lead-times, and re-launching them before the October 2021 deadline for the Subsidy Scheme may prove challenging.
TFT Exclusive with Rajesh Bhagat on the development follows.
TFT: Can you shed light on HKTDC ?
Rajesh: The Hong Kong Trade Development Council (HKTDC) is a statutory body established in 1966 as the international marketing dedicated to creating opportunities for Hong Kong’s businesses. The organisation has 50 offices around the worldThe HKTDC is governed by a 19-member Council of Hong Kong business leaders and senior government officials. It plans and supervises the organisation’s global operations, services and promotional activities. The Council also oversees the operation of the Hong Kong Convention and Exhibition Centre.
TFT: Can you describe the role of Hong Kong Government in supporting Exhibition Industry ?
Rajesh: Being one of the world’s largest trading economy, Hong Kong Government has developed the region into a premier convention and exhibition hub in Asia.
Hong Kong is also considered as Asia’s Central Business District and has always played a pioneering role in the exhibition industry. The Hong Kong Government has been very supportive of the exhibition industry and hence, this initiative.
TFT: How will this subsidy benefit the sector ?
Rajesh: This would give a big boost not only to the exhibition industry but to the trading and business community from all over the world. A 100% venue rental subsidy will be provided for organisers of exhibitions and international conventions held at the Hong Kong Convention & Exhibition Centre and AsiaWorld-Expo, The subsidy, which has no cap, will last until October 2, 2021.
The scheme will also subsidies exhibitors of exhibitions organised by the Hong Kong Trade Development Council (HKTDC) and participants of its major events.
TFT: There was similar announced made in February too, any major difference ?
Rajesh: Yes, earlier, in February 2020, the HKSAR Government had announced the launch of the Convention and Exhibition Industry Subsidy Scheme, stating that any company – local or overseas, large or small – would be subsidised 50% of its participation fee, subject to a cap of HK$10,000 per participation in HKTDC’s exhibitions during the period. I am pleased to state that the enhanced scheme covering 100% venue rental cost for organisers of exhibitions and international conventions held at the Hong Kong Convention and Exhibition Centre and AsiaWorld-Expo will go a long way in giving an impetus to businesses across the region. Businesses in South Asia will find it easier to participate and expand on an international scale via the HKTDC platforms.