Published: 09:47, May 22, 2024
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SAR to host over 100 mega events in H2
By Atlas Shao and Stephy Zhang in Hong Kong

Official: Activities held this year will bring in more than HK$4b to economy

Fireworks light up the packed Hong Kong Stadium on April 7, 2024 as the three-day Hong Kong Sevens concluded. (ANDY CHONG / CHINA DAILY)

Hong Kong will host over 100 large-scale events in the next six months, leveraging new or upgraded facilities to attract tourists and drive economic growth, officials announced on Tuesday.

“This means that Hong Kong will have at least one mega event every two days,” Hong Kong Chief Executive John Lee Ka-chiu said at a regular media briefing on Tuesday, previewing a total of 210 events planned for 2024 — 40 percent higher than the initial projections when the year began.

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The upcoming events are expected to further boost Hong Kong’s visitor arrivals, which reached 14.62 million in the first four months of this year, Lee said. The figure is double that of the same period in 2023 and saw significant increases of foreign tourists from the United States, Canada, and Indonesia.

At a separate news conference, Deputy Financial Secretary Michael Wong Wai-lun outlined the city’s mega-event calendar for the rest of the year, which includes 42 conventions and exhibitions; 25 cultural, arts and creative activities; 15 sports competitions; 13 financial, economic and technological events; and 11 festival parades and carnivals.

The schedule features 15 inaugural events, promising fresh experiences for tourists.

Wong said the events held or to be held this year are expected to draw about 1.7 million visitors and generate about HK$7.2 billion ($923 million) in spending, contributing HK$4.3 billion to the local economy.

Highlights include the Chinese Kungfu x Dance Carnival in July, showcasing over 60 performances and activities presented by more than 1,000 martial arts practitioners and dancers; the World Lacrosse Women’s U20 Championship and the WBSC Baseball5 World Cup debuts, in August and October respectively; and the inaugural Hong Kong Performing Arts Expo, a flagship exchange platform for global artists and performers that will take place in October.

To accommodate the upsurge in activities, Wong said that the Kai Tak Sports Park, including a 50,000-seat stadium and open space, will be completed this year and operate in phases in 2025. The up-to-date facility stands out with the capability to operate under different weather conditions.

Additional facilities include two privately owned parks — Sports Park Sai Sha and Go Park Sai Sha — in Ma On Shan; and Skycity, a vast commercial complex near Hong Kong International Airport. Skycity will be connected to the Tung Chung MTR station by Hong Kong’s first unmanned transportation system.

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The second phase of Ma Wan Park, located on an island between Lantau and Tsing Yi islands, will also open later this year, providing further venues for performances and exhibitions.

Lee on Tuesday also thanked the central government for supportive measures that benefit Hong Kong, such as its expansion of the Individual Visit Scheme to include more Chinese mainland cities. The program allows mainland tourists from those cities to visit Hong Kong without being part of a tour group.

The Hong Kong Special Administrative Region government will continue to work with the central government to further explore tourism-boosting policies, such as increasing the tax allowance for mainland visitors, to stimulate the local retail market, Lee said.

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