Travel And Tour World: What are the preventive measures to ensure a safe, hygienic and comfortable environment for exhibitors and visitors you have undertaken to host events in post COVID-19 time?
Monica Lee-Müller: Hong Kong Convention and Exhibition Centre (Management) Limited (“HML”) has implemented a series of preventative measures at the Hong Kong Convention and Exhibition Centre (HKCEC).
The Hong Kong Special Administrative Region (“HKSAR”) Government has implemented social distancing regulations in response to COVID-19 or deadly coronavirus prevention. Hong Kong Convention and Exhibition Centre (Management) Limited (“HML”) worked closely with the organiser for proactively introducing stringent preventative measures and communicated to exhibitors and visitors through diverse channels in preparation for the 98th Hong Kong Wedding Fair. For example, no food consumption was allowed inside the exhibition hall, social distance was applied for queuing at ticketing counters, aisles of some major booths.
Hong Kong Convention and Exhibition Centre (Management) Limited (“HML”) has adopted measures in the HKCEC’s restaurants to comply with current Government regulations. Customers are advised to maintain social distance while waiting to be seated and their body temperature is screened before entering the restaurant. Face masks are mandatory except when consuming food or beverage. Each table can accommodate not more than 8 patrons and are set apart with at least 1.5m in between, or separated by partitions. Food is served with cover.
Travel And Tour World: What are the marketing strategies taken by Hong Kong Convention and Exhibition Centre (Management) Limited to secure more international and domestic events in post COVID-19 time?
Monica Lee-Müller: Throughout the last few months, Hong Kong Convention and Exhibition Centre (Management) Limited (“HML”) has continued to communicate with our local and international customers and stakeholders on the latest situation, addressing their needs and concerns. As much as possible, we have extended flexibility for rescheduling their events.
With the success of the Wedding Fair, we shared our experience to assure customers that we are indeed ready and confident to welcome their events back to the HKCEC. Photos and videos have been sent to our customer database and via traditional and social media platforms to demonstrate HML’s strength and professional services and hygiene measures. The experience at the Wedding Fair is shared with other exhibition organisers for consideration at their own events.
Travel And Tour World: What are the major upcoming events in post COVID19 time?
Monica Lee-Müller: There are the vast majority of exhibitions in the Hong Kong Convention and Exhibition Centre (HKCEC), which are recurrent and well established in the business calendar of the respective industries. Despite of the recent challenges, these international and national events are staying with Hong Kong and the HKCEC.
HML will continue to monitor development of the pandemic and implement preventive measures in cooperation with individual event organisers, following guidelines from HKSAR Government’s Department of Health and advice from international industry such as UFI – The Global Association of the Exhibition Industry to make continuous improvements.
The 98th Hong Kong Wedding Fair was well attended. The 99th version of the event will be held on 12-14 June 2020.
There are many other events lined up afterwards. Some of them were previously scheduled at their original time slots. For example, the annual Hong Kong Book Fair, along with Hong Kong Sports and Leisure Expo and other associated events, will take place as planned during 15 to 21 July, taking up almost the entire HKCEC.
Travel And Tour World: Have you received any assistance from the government to boost the event industry?
Monica Lee-Müller: The Hong Kong, officially the Hong Kong Special Administrative Region of the People’s Republic of China Government (HKSAR) has a series of relief measures for different industries, employers, employees and the general public. For the MICE exhibition and convention industry, an allocation of over HK$1,020 million (US$130 million) will be injected to subsidise exhibition and convention organisers and participants, in order to reinvigorate Hong Kong’s reputation as the event capital of Asia.
Although not directly benefiting from the scheme, HML appreciates the financial support from the HKSAR Government, which serves as a timely relief measure for the industry that has been greatly affected by the COVID-19 pandemic. It recognises the significant contribution of the exhibition and convention industry to the economy of Hong Kong. We believe that organisers of exhibitions and international conferences will benefit and events can resume normal soon.
Travel And Tour World: What are the infrastructural developments Hong Kong Convention and Exhibition Centre (HKCEC) covered?
Monica Lee-Müller: HML kicked off the US$128 million HKCEC Five-Year Advancement Project in mid-2019 to demonstrate our confidence on the long term growth of the industry and business at the HKCEC. The Project comprising infrastructure and technology upgrade has proceeded according to plan without interruption. Upon completion of the entire Project in early 2024, HML will provide an even more comfortable, efficient and safer environment for all HKCEC users.