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Survey of Hong Kong’s exhibition industry highlights pandemic recovery

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Survey of Hong Kong’s exhibition industry highlights pandemic recovery
There were ‘encouraging details’ in the results from the survey assessing large-scale exhibitions in Hong Kong in 2023.

As one of the last regions to open up after the pandemic pause, Hong Kong lost some exhibitions to other destinations.

However, the survey from the Hong Kong Exhibition & Convention Industry Association (HKECIA) showed a significant return of exhibitions of over 2,000m2 – considered large-scale shows.

Of the 125 large shows, the association focused on the 73 shows that were either trade or trade and consumer expos.

The number of exhibitions was up considerably in 2023, compared to late 2022 when this category numbered just 40 shows.

The survey found exhibition participants had also soared between 2022 and 2023, with the number of companies exhibiting rising by more than 400 per cent – from under 9,000 to over 45,000.

Alongside this, show attendees were up 560 per cent, at over 1.4 million.

Show floors also expanded significantly to a collective total of nearly 890,000m2, a jump of almost 280 per cent.

“This is a rebound we have been expecting, and which our exhibition venues and organisers in Hong Kong have worked hard to make happen,” said HKECIA chair Stuart Bailey.

“We have been greatly helped by the Government’s $1.4 billion Incentive Scheme for Recurrent Exhibitions launched in July 2023, designed to support the recovery of the exhibition industry by incentivising organisers to stage their recurrent exhibitions in Hong Kong.

“The survey shows that the Government’s investment is already reaping very valuable returns as organisers and visitors flock back to Hong Kong in numbers.

“Given the clear benefits it is bringing to Hong Kong’s wider economy, we do urge that the scheme continues to be funded until June 2026, as originally announced.”

However the 2023 survey also showed that Hong Kong’s exhibition sector has not yet recovered to 2019 levels, with reduction in flight capacity being seen as one of the issues.

Trade and consumer and trade shows are nine per cent down on pre-COVID numbers, although floor space is only five per cent below, while exhibiting companies are at 70 per cent of pre-pandemic numbers and visitors are at 76 per cent.

Perhaps unsurprisingly, visitors from mainland China have shown the strongest recovery, although these are also still down nine per cent on pre-COVID numbers.

“As long as flight capacity to Hong Kong continues to grow, we expect that the volume of international exhibitors and visitors in 2024 will gradually increase from 2023,” said Bailey.

“This is because Hong Kong continues to offer the same unique advantages as it did before the pandemic. 

“There are few other places in Asia that can match this city for its world-class service and outstanding facilities and infrastructure, making it an ideal location for hosting trade exhibitions and international conventions.”

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