DMCS raise issue of Hong Kong venues

DMCs in Hong Kong are concerned that a lack of corporate meeting facilities and venues to host group evening functions is driving business away from the territory and into China. If the Hong Kong Convention and Exhibition Centre (HKCEC) is booked, it is said to be virtually impossible to find alternative venues for large groups, resulting in Hong Kong losing business to the mainland. "Business in Hong Kong remains stable but interest in China has been incredible," commented Pacific World chairman Jacques Arnoux. He said good services and facilities plus the impending entry of China into the World Trade Organisation were pushing interest in mainland venues. However, Hong Kong Tourism Board conventions, exhibitions & corporate events manager Sharon Wood said she believed that Hong Kong was more than able to compete. "Hong Kong offers a unique experience and has an impressive variety of deluxe hotels, purpose-built centres and unusual venues that can easily accommodate larger groups," she said. Meanwhile, the number of visitors coming to Hong Kong to attend conferences increased by 39% last year. Statistics made available by the Hong Kong Tourism Board show that business visitors stayed an average of 4.8 nights during 2000 and spent approximately £1,028 a head. In line with these figures, the HKCEC has reported its most successful financial year to date for both the number of events and the level of operating income. For the year ended 30 June 2001, the HKCEC recorded 2,229 events and generated revenues of £8.4 million.

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