Conference & Meetings World Issue 91 - Page 41

City Report Hong Kong to extend its infl uence AN OLD ASIAN MICE POWERHOUSE LOOKS DEEP INSIDE FOR INSPIRATION AND INVESTMENT ong Kong continues to power ahead with Hong Kong Tourism Board (HKTB) figures showing overall overnight MICE arrivals in 2016 beating the previous year by nearly 10%. The figure was achieved despite a drop in meetings and incentive visitors from mainland China. Effort is increasing, too, to win new conference bids, with HKTB reporting a 67% success rate last year. This year the strategy has been to target conferences with a high strategic value, particularly conventions organised from the US and Europe. In terms of strategy, Hong Kong’s heritage and culture has been brought more to the marketing fore. Initiatives illustrating this approach include the Old Town Central initiative and the Walk in Hong Kong campaign offering visitors Case Study RISE Conference July 2017 @HKCEC Rise is produced by the team behind Web Summit – Europe’s largest tech conference attracting 53,000 attendees. It returns to Hong Kong in July 2018, following a successful 2017 edition which included co-founder of Alibaba Group China, Joe Tsai, as a speaker. The 15,000 participants were not the typical suit-and-tie genre, but rather made up of hyperactive entrepreneurs and startups in search of support and collaboration opportunities. The HML team shared the responsibility of ‘engineering serendipity’ for these techies. That entailed laying out facilities for small group networki ng discussions, as opposed to plenary sessions of which there were none. There were no organised luncheons or formal dinners either, with catering concentrating instead on the provision of light, bite-size snacks like burgers, sandwiches, chips and chocolates. ISSUE 91 an insight into the city’s traditional neighbourhoods. This ‘localhood’ approach is designed to encourage delegates to visit temples and dance-halls, as well as racetracks like Happy Valley or Sha Tin. Snake-soup restaurants are also part of the menu refocussing on authentic experiences. Venue extensions Hong Kong’s big two venues are also looking to expand, following momentum from the government which recently issued a Policy Address that included expanding the capacity of event space in the city and demolishing and redeveloping three government buildings in Wan Chai to build a new convention and exhibition venue. The new venue would be connected to the existing Hong Kong Convention and Exhibition Centre (HKCEC) and add / CONFERENCE & MEETINGS WORLD / 41