This year marks the 22nd Anniversary of the Hong Kong Exhibition & Convention Industry Association (HKECIA). The Association has come a long way since its inception in 1990 with only 10 founding members at the time to where we are today: 108 members. Over the past two decades, we are committed to represent and promote the industry in a unified voice and support members in professional development, business networking and information exchange.
Our fourth biennial Economic Impact Study was completed last year. The results revealed that Hong Kong’s exhibition industry contributed HK$35.8 billion (US$4.6 billion) to the local economy in 2010, equivalent to 2.1% of Hong Kong’s total GDP, while generating the equivalence of 69,150 full-time jobs. Compared with findings in the previous report, which covered 2008, all the indicators moved upwards showing positive compound annual growth rates (CAGR). The study reaffirmed the exhibition industry as a driving force behind Hong Kong’s economic strength and is an essential tool for the Association to raise awareness amongst policy makers in government, Legco and other stakeholders.
We have also recently completed our Annual Exhibition Survey. The initial findings demonstrated healthy growth of the industry in 2011 compared with the previous year. After the AGM today, the newly elected Executive Committee would review the detail results and share with members soon. Again, this is another essential study in tracking the performance of the industry and demonstrating its importance to the economy. I’d like to thank the contribution of the Communications Sub-committee as well as all the members who have provided data to make these two studies possible.
During the past year, the Association supported the infrastructural development of Hong Kong and represented the voice of the industry by Page 2 of 5 submitting a position paper to the Hong Kong Airport Authority in support of the third runway in July. Mr. Stanley Chu, Honorary Chairman and myself served at the Exhibition Centre sub-committee of West Kowloon Cultural District development.
The Association will meet with key office bearers the Hong Kong Trade Development Council to review how they would further help to promote the industry. Similarly, the Association will also continue to provide input and support to ensure the effectiveness of the promotion initiatives of Meetings and Exhibitions HK for attracting and assisting event organizers, exhibitors and buyers to Hong Kong.
Cooperation agreements were signed with Nanjing Convention and Industry Association in January and with Chongquing Foreign Trade and Economic Relations Commission in February. The Association received official delegation of Wuxi Exhibition & Convention Bureau in July and officials of the Haizhu District Government in October.
I already mentioned that the Sub-committee contributed their great effort in the Economic Impact Study and the Annual Exhibition Survey. In addition, they continued to support HKECIA’s media relations, press interview, compilation of HKECIA’s yearly directory and preparing messages and speeches for UFI Annual Congress, APF & ICES 2012, and Forum on Guangzhou Convention & Exhibition Economy (Pazhou, Haizhu) & Annual Meeting of China Conference & Exhibition Industry.
HKECIA continued to support the Professional Diploma in MICE & Event Management Course by Hong Kong Productivity Council. An Online Media Seminar, in conjunction with the member’s Christmas cocktail, was organized in December 2010 by the Sub-Committee.
The main focus of the Sub-Committee remains improvements in work safety and the environment. The “Green Card” training and accreditation system for contractors, which has been mandatory since 1 June 2010, continues. The system is enhanced from April this year with a daily wristband identification policy being introduced, helping to ensure that only qualified and legal workers will be allowed inside the exhibition venues. An internationally-recognized Health & Safety training and accreditation course for organizers, contractors and venues, previously not available in Hong Kong, has been introduced for the benefit of members. The environmental impact of exhibitions and events continues to be considerable, despite some individual improvements and advances made by HKECIA member companies. The Sub-Committee urges members to consider the efficient use of all materials used in the business cycle, from pre-show, to the event itself and what is ultimately disposed of post-event.
Since last AGM, 9 Associate Members upgraded their status as Full Members, and 10 companies joined as new members. This made the total number of members to 108, including 66 full members, 31 associate members and 11 overseas members.
In addition to receiving delegations from Mainland China, HKECIA has organized and participated in the following activities.The 21st HKECIA Annual Dinner was held in June at the AsiaWorld-Expo and was attended by 268 members and guests. Mr Gregory So, Under Secretary (now Secretary) for Commerce and Economic Development, the Government of the HKSAR, was the Officiating Guest of Honor.
The Guangzhou/Hong Kong/Macao Exhibition & Convention Industry Forum was held on in August at the Guangzhou Expo. A total of 10 members from 6 member companies attended. Macao Fam Visit was held in October, with participation of 31 members. The delegation was received by Mr Joao Manuel Costa Antunes, Director of Macau Government Tourist Office (MGTO). The programme, sponsored by MGTO, included a guided tour of the Macau Tourism and Cultural Activities Centre, inspection of a few new hotels, dinner hosted by the Macao International Trade and Investment Fair (MIF), the MIF opening and the viewing of “Zaia”. Hong Kong Tourism Board, Hong Kong Trade Development Council and HKECIA jointly hosted the business lunch session at UFI Annual Congress 2011 in Valencia, Spain in November. Mr. Stanley Chu, Honorary Life President of the HKECIA gave a presentation to some 360 UFI members.
Online Media Seminar cum Christmas Cocktail Reception was held at Regal Hong Kong in December. The combined event was held with great success, with attendance by 170 members and guests Government officials from InvestHK and Tourism Commission of HKSARG as well as, MGTO were among guests at the cocktail reception. HKECIA Golf Day was held in December at Kau Sai Chau, with participation of 8 members. 11 HKECIA members participated at China Expo Forum for International Cooperation (CEFCO) in Haikou, Hainan, in January and enjoyed discounted admission fee exclusive for HKECIA. Over 20 HKECIA members attended the 7th edition of UFI Open Seminar Asia in Shenzhen in February, taking advantage of the exclusive early bird discount on admission fee.
With the volatile economic outlook, the coming few years would be of great challenge to us. I encourage members to raise and discuss issues concerning the interests and the development of the industry through the channels offered by the Page 5 of 5 Association. Only by doing so could we present constructive and practical recommendations to the government and policy makers. To end my report, I am taking this opportunity to extend my sincere thanks to all Executive Committee Members for their support, and their significant contributions to the Association during my last two years as Chairman of the Association. Last but not least, I would like to appeal for the solidarity of the Hong Kong’s exhibition and convention industry, especially in the time of challenges, to work together on maintaining our leading position in the region and for a better future. We need fuller cooperation within the industry. We also need further support from the HKSARG. I’d urge the newly elected Executive Committee to continue to work closely with the Commerce and Economic Development Bureau, the Tourism Commission, Hong Kong Trade Development Council, and Hong Kong Tourism Board, for the betterment of the industry.
Chairman (2010-2012), HKECIA