Study reveals Hong Kong’s exhibition industry contributes HK$52.9 billion in 2016 International exhibitors’ average spend 75% more than general overnight tourists
30 November 2017

Study reveals Hong Kong’s exhibition industry contributes HK$52.9 billion in 2016 International exhibitors’ average spend 75% more than general overnight tourists

The Hong Kong Exhibition & Convention Industry Association (‘HKECIA’) released findings from the latest bienial Economic Impact Study gauging the contribution of Hong Kong’s exhibition industry to the city’s economy today.  The Study, covering the calendar year 2016, reveals that the exhibition industry contributed HK$52.9 billion (US$6.8 billion) to the local economy in 2016 in expenditure effects, equivalent to 2.1% of Hong Kong’s total GDP for the period.  The Study also reaffirms the significant economic benefits of the exhibition industry to the city, with international exhibitors spent on average 75% more than general overnight tourists in 2016.  At the same time, the exhibition industry generated the equivalent of 77,000 full-time jobs for people in Hong Kong.

Total expenditure generated by the exhibition industry remained at the same level as that of 2014 despite continuing global economic uncertainty.  Of the HK$52.9 billion (US$6.8 billion) in total expenditure effects generated by the industry, just over half – HK$26.5 billion (US$3.4 billion) – represented direct expenditure made by visitors, exhibitors and organisers.

International exhibitors and exhibition visitors are high-value groups by comparison with general overnight tourists, according to the Study.  It shows that international exhibitors and exhibition visitors continued to significantly outspend general overnight tourists, on average spending around 75% and 66% more respectively in 2016.  In fact, the difference in spending between these two groups and general overnight tourists increased by comparison with the difference reported in the previous three editions of the Study.  That spending benefits Hong Kong’s important retail, hotel and F&B sectors the most.

From 2014 to 2016 the average spending of overnight tourists coming to Hong Kong declined quite significantly, by 17%.  By contrast, the Study shows that the average spending of international exhibitors and exhibition visitors, while also declining, fell by less than that for overnight tourists, at 10% and 14% respectively. This reinforces the fact that business travelers attracted to Hong Kong by the exhibition industry are high-value individuals who are important contributors to the economy.

Hong Kong’s government also benefits directly and to a high level from the exhibition industry, according to the Study.  In 2016, the fiscal benefits contributed by the exhibition industry (e.g. the various taxes imposed by the government on exhibition activities and participants) amounted to HK$1.9 billion (US$244.2 million).

Mr Stuart Bailey, Chairman of the HKECIA which commissioned the study, said, “This latest data comes as a timely reminder of the importance of the exhibition industry to Hong Kong, at a time when decisions need to be made about the support it is given going ahead.  We did expect to see a drop in some areas as the global economy has not yet fully rebounded.  The findings clearly show the massive benefits delivered at the levels of cash spending, employment opportunities, and spin-off effects for related businesses and supporting industries, and for government income.  We must do our best to secure international exhibitors and exhibition visitors who are proven high spenders, and to ensure that Hong Kong continues to have the capabilities to attract and host large and significant exhibitions in the years to come.”

This was the seventh in the Economic Impact Study series, which have been carried out biennially since 2004.  It was conducted by KPMG Advisory (Hong Kong) Limited, a respected independent research consultancy.


Economic impact of Hong Kong’s exhibition industry in 2016 and 2014

Areas Benefits (2016) Benefits (2014) Compound Annual Growth Rate (CAGR)
Expenditure effects HK$52.9 billion

(US$6.8 billion)

HK$52.9 billion

(US$6.8 billion)

Fiscal impact HK$1.9 billion

(US$244.2 million)

HK$2.1 billion

(US$269.9 million)

Employment 77,000 FTE 83,500 FTE -7.8%

Expenditure effects remain at 2014’s level of HK$52.9 billion, equivalent to 2.1% of Hong Kong’s GDP

–     Direct expenditure covers expenditure by Visitor Personal (exhibition visitors) and Business Related (exhibition organisers and exhibitors) and amounts for HK$26.5 billion (US$3.4 billion).

–     Visitor expenditure remains the largest expenditure segment at HK$15.3 billion (US$2 billion) in 2016, accounting for 58% of the total direct expenditure.

–     Visitor personal expenditure is spilt between international and domestic spending is around 93% to 7% (same ratio in 2014).

–     Retail, international transport, hotel and F&B sectors were the largest recipients of director visitor expenditure, accounting for 86.2% of the total visitor personal expenditure.

–     Business-related (exhibition organisers and exhibitors) expenditure amounted to HK$11.1 billion (US$1.4 billion) in 2016.

Equivalent of 77,000 full time employment provided by the exhibition industry

–     Around 3,300 FTEs, or 4.3%, were directly employed by exhibition organisers and venues.

–     Remaining 95.7%, or 73,700 FTE jobs, was provided across various supporting sectors. Amount this group, around 58% of the FTE jobs created came from retail, hotel and F&B. Other supporting industries such as international transport, stand contractors, advertising and others accounted for the remaining 42%.

International exhibitors and exhibition visitors outspend overnight tourists

–     International exhibition visitors’ spend is on average 66% higher than overnight tourists.

–     International exhibitors’ spend is on average 75% higher than overnight tourists.

  2016 2014 Variance  (%)
International exhibition visitors’ average spend HK$10,942




International exhibitors’ average spend HK$11,523




Overnight tourists’ average spend HK$6,599





Fiscal benefits amounted to HK$1.9 billion

–     Derived from three taxes:

  • Profits tax: HK$960 million (US$123.4 million)
  • Salary tax: HK$886 million (US$113.9 million)
  • Airport tax: HK$90 million (US$11.6 million)

About the Hong Kong Exhibition and Convention Industry Association

The Hong Kong Exhibition and Convention Industry Association (HKECIA) was established in 1990 to promote Hong Kong as a world-class exhibition and conference destination and the trade fair capital of Asia Pacific. It works to represent the interests of all members involved in the exhibition and convention industries, and provides a unified voice in dealing with the government, legislative and statutory bodies, the media and public organisations, on all matters associate with the role of the exhibition and convention industry in Hong Kong’s economy. In addition, it offers training and educational programmes, and collects, analyses and distributes information and statistics relating to the industry. Currently, HKECIA has 100 members including exhibition organisers, venue managers and operators, contractors, hotels, and travel agents.

HKECIA is a member of UFI – The Global Association of the Exhibition Industry, and AFECA – The Asian Federation of Exhibition and Convention Associations.

For further enquiries, please contact:

Ms Alexandra Seto

Association Manager

Hong Kong Exhibition & Convention Industry Association