It is now 25 years since the HKECIA was incorporated in May 1990. The HKECIA has current total of 111 members includes 70 full members, 30 associate members and 11 overseas members, making it a truly representative voice for the exhibition and convention industries in Hong Kong. I believe we can be very proud of the contribution our industry has made to Hong Kong’s economy over the past quarter century.
To begin, let me highlight some of our achievements of the past year.
- The results of our HKECIA Annual Exhibition Survey for 2014 are available; they show that the Hong Kong exhibition industry has achieved positive growth, with over 66,000 exhibiting companies and 1,940,000 visitors recorded for 2014. Exhibitor numbers, visitor numbers, and rental revenue generated from exhibitors were all positive, especially for exhibiting companies and visitors from outside Hong Kong. The Survey results strongly reaffirm Hong Kong’s leading position and unique advantages as Trade Fair Capital of Asia. I would like to thank the Communications Sub-Committee and all of our members who provided data for making this important study possible.
- In March this year, UFI, the Global Association of the Exhibition Industry held the 10th edition of its Open Seminar in Asia and Sustainable Development Focus Meeting in Hong Kong. As host, the HKECIA contributed ideas for the Seminar programme and actively recruited delegates. The Seminar enjoyed record-breaking attendance of over 300 participants from 21 countries and regions, and marked the kick-off of our anniversary celebrations.
- A 25th anniversary logo was developed for the celebration activities. It first appeared in the delegate handbook and on a souvenir given to the 300 delegates of the UFI Open Seminar in Asia.
- With support from Executive Committee member Ungerbeock Software International, the HKECIA website has been revamped, given a fresh look and made more responsive. Fine-tuning of the content is in progress.
Let me now report on our trade promotion, communications, training and networking activities over the past year, as supported by the China, Communications, Education & Training, Exhibition Operations, and Membership Sub-committees.
- Networking for members has always been an important function of the Association. The annual seminar and Christmas cocktail reception on 9 December 2014 with a theme “Getting Participants More Engaged in Trade Fair” at the HKCEC was well attended by 166 members, and a golf day on 29 January 2015 was joined by 12 members.
- A substantial number of contractors, sub-contractors and suppliers) working regularly on Hong Kong events are still not HKECIA members. To raise working standards, the Association has initiated dialogue and engaged with some of the main parties, so that they can adopt recommended guidelines and improve their working methods. By working with more of the companies actively involved in the industry we intend to raise overall standards.
- To expand networking and information exchanges with colleagues within the region, HKECIA has become a corporate member of the Asian Federation of Exhibition & Conventions Associations (AFECA).
- In my capacity as HKEICA Chairman, other office bearer of the association attended and spoke at many seminars and forums organised by local, Mainland Chinese and overseas associations to promote Hong Kong as the Trade Fair Capital of Asia. I was interviewed by the One Country Two Systems Research Institute in August 2014 and shared views on the economic benefits arising from the Hong Kong-Zhuhai-Macau Bridge.
- Over the past year, we have received many delegations from trade fair authorities and organisations from Mainland China. On behalf of the Association, in November 2014 I delivered a lecture on Hong Kong’s exhibition and convention industries to a group of 25 senior government officials from Mainland China at a training programme organised by the Organisation Department of the CPC Central Committee through the Hong Kong Institute for Public Administration.
- Mr Stanley Chu, Chair of the China Sub-committee, represented the Association at an interview by journalists from Heilongjiang, and also welcomed a delegation from Kunming. Mr Chu represented the Association to attend and deliver welcome remarks at the luncheon of the UFI Annual Congress in October 2014. Mr Chu also attended the Macau International MICE Industry Forum on behalf of the Association in December 2014.
- The Association continued to support the Macao International Trade & Investment Fair (MIF); eight members joined the MIF visit programme in October 2014, sponsored by the Macao Trade and Investment Promotion Institute (IPIM).
We all agree that to sustain Hong Kong’s leading position in the region, we need better cooperation within the industry and more support from the government. One development here has been the appointment of the HKECIA Chairman and three other Executive Committee members by the Chief Executive of the HKSAR Government as members of the Working Group on Convention and Exhibition Industries and Tourism under the Economic Development Commission (the Commission), established by the Chief Executive on 17 January 2013. They are tasked with providing visionary direction and advice to the government on overall strategy and policy, with the goal of enhancing Hong Kong’s economic growth and the development of the convention and exhibition industries.
In his Policy Address, the Chief Executive announced a proposal to build a new convention centre at the Exhibition Station, with details still to come. Executive Committee members met with Mr Philip Yung, Permanent Secretary for Commerce and Economic Development, and his colleagues earlier this month to express the Association’s position on the CEDB paper “Development of Convention and Exhibition Industries in Hong Kong” presented to Legco on 10 February 2015, and the executive summary of the “Demand Study for New Convention and Exhibition Facilities in Hong Kong”. We hope dialogue will be ongoing and our voice heeded.
To finish, I would like to extend my sincere thanks to all Executive Committee members for their support of and contributions to the Association. The active participation and support of HKECIA members is crucial and also highly appreciated.
Finally, I would like to appeal for solidarity among Hong Kong’s exhibition and convention industries, so we can work together to maintain our leading position in the region and create a better future for all. Thank you!