Going forward in 2019, Hong Kong will pivot towards medium-sized conventions, and small and medium-sized incentive groups as the city addresses challenges in the MICE industry, said Hong Kong Tourism Board (HKTB) executive director Anthony Lau.
Speaking at a session on Hong Kong’s tourism overview yesterday, Lau said: “We will extend bidding efforts to medium-sized conventions from APAC and associations from mainland China, as well as smaller conferences of strategic importance such as the Forbes 30 Under 30 Summit and New York Times’ International Luxury Conference held last year [in Hong Kong].”
The sectors targeted for conventions include medical and technology, Lau explained. Direct-selling companies, meanwhile, have been particularly lucrative for the incentive sector. Lau revealed that the Board will increase funding this year to support operators who bring in small and medium-sized incentive groups given that the programme has received favourable response.
Among the challenges faced by Hong Kong in the MICE sector includes an insufficient supply of large venues, mounting operating costs, competition from other regional cities with newer and better facilities, and a negative perception that the city lacks novelty, Lau said.
A new MICE marketing campaign is in the works this year, while new hubs will be introduced in new districts to address the shortage of venues.
Meetings and Exhibitions Hong Kong, a subsidiary of HKTB, launched the Old Town Central MICE Guide last year to promote the Central district among planners.
“The opening of the express rail and the bridge, and new attractions such as Tai Kwun present us with more reasons to convince MICE organisers to take Hong Kong as their next meeting place, and to address the negative perception, and to reinforce Hong Kong as the MICE capital of Asia,” said Lau.