January 20, 2023 | By Gerardine Donough-Tan | Image: IB Skincare Group at Hong Kong Palace Museum | Credit: HKTB

November 2022 marked the turnaround for international business events in Hong Kong as it hosted two major conferences and exhibitions and pulled out the stops for an incentive group. Overseas demand for motivational incentive programs is encouraging, said Hong Kong Tourism Board (HKTB).

HKTB is adopting a three-pronged strategy focusing on business recovery, trade support and image rebuilding. The plan encompasses more competitive bidding packages to retain and win large- and medium-sized international MICE events and segment-specific programs, as well as enhanced funding schemes.

As Hong Kong gradually reduced entry restrictions, before abolishing them altogether in December, recent events marked Hong Kong’s return to the global stage as the “world’s meeting place”. They included the Global Financial Leaders’ Investment Summit and the 2022 Junior Chamber International World Congress in November, leveraging the popular Hong Kong Sevens and Wine & Dine Festival to enhance the overall experience.

Also in November, IB Skincare from Thailand was the first incentive group to arrive in Hong Kong since the pandemic. Participants were treated to unique experiences such as a specially-arranged tour of the new Hong Kong Palace Museum, temple-hopping and an exclusive Christmas tree light-up at the Hong Kong WinterFest.

Kenneth Wong, HKTB’s general manager, MICE and cruise, said: “This group marked the first of our line-up of incentive groups from short-haul markets, with more coming in the future. It indicates encouraging overseas demand for motivational incentive programs to Hong Kong, especially after the recent implementation of favourable arrangements for inbound tour groups.”

Hong Kong Convention and Exhibition Centre and AsiaWorld-Expo have undergone upgrades and expansion to elevate meeting experiences, while SkyCity will turn Hong Kong International Airport into an airport city by introducing “11 SKIES” as Hong Kong’s largest hub for retail, dining and entertainment and office space.

Hong Kong has welcomed 15 new hotels in the past two years, offering convenient meeting locations or top-notch meeting facilities. New attractions include West Kowloon Cultural District, and enhancements at Hong Kong Disneyland and Water World Ocean Park.