Despite Street Protests, Hong Kong Exhibition Industry Open for Business
After a few months of weekly street protests in Hong Kong that impacted the airport for a few days and caused street closures, the city’s exhibition industry forged ahead with several major shows opening recently.
The Hong Kong Convention and Exhibition Centre welcomed hundreds of thousands of exhibitors and buyers from all over the world to five trade fairs in the past two weeks, signifying the beginning of the annual trade fair season.
The first was Asia Adult Expo held Aug. 27-29, followed by four co-locating international trade fairs Sept. 3-7, namely HKTDC Hong Kong Watch & Clock Fair, Restaurant & Bar Hong Kong X Gourmet Asia 2019, Natural & Organic Asia 201, and CENTRESTAGE.
Participating exhibitors and buyers from overseas casted their vote of confidence in Hong Kong as the longstanding position of Trade Fair Capital of Asia, despite the public activities in the city in the past two months.
The Seafood Expo Asia (SEA), originally scheduled for Sept. 3-5 at the HKCEC, is the only one international exhibition that has been cancelled.
Monica Lee-Müller, managing director of Hong Kong Convention and Exhibition Centre (Management) Limited (“HML”), the professional and private management company of the HKCEC, said, “The HKCEC has been operating as normal over the past few months and events are running without interruption. Although there have been road closures nearby during several incidents, the HKCEC remained accessible by foot, private cars, freight trucks and public transportation.”
She added, “In fact, it is business as usual here. We look forward to the upcoming fairs when exhibitors and buyers from all over the world will continue to make fruitful business connections.”
A U.K. buyer to the Asia Adult Expo, Thomas Henry Chadwick, Director from Dotty After Midnight, raved about his experience, “Hong Kong is the perfect destination for business under its visa-free regime. The city is safe for travellers and tourists – it is exactly the same as it was for my last visit! Public transport including the MTR (subway in Hong Kong) is running as normal, and I have not observed or experienced any disruption. ”
Robert Harvey, an exhibitor from Larmes based in Hong Kong at the HKTDC Hong Kong Watch & Clock Fair, said, “Hong Kong is a hub where everybody comes to do business. We are pleased to meet with buyers from all over the world and get contacts which we would not be able to get from anywhere else.”
Hungarian buyer Laszlo Bakonyi from BTech Innovation Technology also said, “You can find thousands and thousands of suppliers here. There is nothing to be worried about in the current situation of Hong Kong.”
The Hong Kong Exhibition & Convention Industry Association Chairman Stuart Bailey said, “Business is as usual in Hong Kong. At this time, we are seeing that major exhibitions and conferences in Hong Kong are running without incident or interruption. Exhibition and conference events were not targeted for disruption. Hong Kong is definitely still open for business and safe to travel.
He added, “Of course visitors should take extra care and be mindful of areas in which protests might be taking place and take note of any special traffic arrangements such as temporary road closures and disruptions on public transport. But it’s worth remembering that Hong Kong is consistently ranked one of the safest cities in the world.”