After years of buzz, the world’s longest crossing – spanning 55km – connecting the cities of Hong Kong, Macau, and Zhuhai, will finally open later this year. Not only will this improve connectivity for delegates, it will also raise the profile of Macau and Zhuhai as business event destinations.
Macau, a city that’s been largely pigeon-holed as a gambling city, will especially benefit from the reduced journey to Hong Kong International Airport (HKG). At the moment, the ferries from Macau directly to HKG are two to three hours apart.
“With frequent buses, we will be very well connected with HKG and that will increase a lot of our potential for big and international events,” said Bruno Simoes, managing director, DOC DMC Macau & Hong Kong.
“The Chinese authorities are also realising that the tourist factor for the bridge is huge. It’s the world’s longest bridge with a tunnel in the middle. People will want to cross the bridge and on the way over, they would take photos.”
Another advantage is the sharing of resources between the cities. “Compared to Macau, Hong Kong is a more powerful events market so there are more services like furniture rental and AV companies. [With the bridge], Macau will have much better connectivity and it’ll be cheaper to access those services,” Simoes said.
Meanwhile, for Hong Kong, forthcoming activities from the bridge will certainly make
a difference. This will be especially clear for AsiaWorld-Expo (AWE), a large-scale venue situated nearby HKG and adjacent to the cross-border facilities of the bridge.
“As a gateway to the Pearl River Area, AsiaWorld-Expo will benefit from the ‘bridgehead economy’,” said Enid Low, chief strategy officer, AWE. “It will also add value to the venue in hosting regional large-scale and multi-day events in which both business and leisure elements are addressed.”
The “bridgehead economy” that Low refers to includes commercial development in the “North Commercial District” (NCD) comprising SkyCity (a major integrated development next to the airport with retail complexes, dining areas, hotels, entertainment facilities, and offices) and topside at Hong Kong Boundary Crossing Facilities Island.
“The bridge will foster the establishment of a world-class, market-oriented business environment and will promote the free flow of talent, goods and capital across the region, raising the overall level of economic efficiency, transparency and internationalisation,” Low added.
"One Journey Multiple Destinations’ will be one of the new tourism trends arising from this enhanced cross-border connectivity.”