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Hong Kong pumps $130m into faltering meetings industry

Hong Kong will start pumping HK$1bn (US$130m) into its faltering meetings and events industry as political unrest and the outbreak of the novel coronavirus (Covid-19) begin to take their toll.

The government has agreed to pay full venue rental costs for large exhibitions and conventions (more than 400 participants) where at least half attendees come from outside Hong Kong.

Over the same period delegates attending large exhibitions and conventions organised by the Hong Kong Trade Development Council will be funded 50 per cent of their participation fee.

The start of the scheme, which will last 12 months, will be announced soon.

Hong Kong Convention and Exhibition Centre (Management) Limited (HML), operators of the Hong Kong Convention and Exhibition Centre (HKCEC), has welcomed the latest initiative.

Managing director Monica Lee-Müller said: “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 public activities in the second half of 2019 and the recent outbreak of the novel coronavirus (Covid-19).

“It recognises the significant contribution of the exhibition and convention industry to the economy of Hong Kong, and sends a positive message to international event organisers that Hong Kong welcomes their return. We are confident that the measures will encourage organisers with postponed events to confirm their new schedules, and new organisers to confirm their plans.”

Since the outbreak of the novel coronavirus, a few exhibitions and conferences at the HKCEC originally scheduled in February to April 2020 have been postponed or cancelled.  HML has been working closely with event organisers and exercised flexibility for rescheduling as much as possible.

As the world struggles to containt the spread of the virus, almost 80 people have now been diagnosed with coronavirus in Hong Kong and two people in the city have died from the disease.