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SCED's speech at 25th anniversary dinner of Hong Kong Exhibition and Convention Industry Association (English only)

     Following is the speech by the Secretary for Commerce and Economic Development, Mr Gregory So, at the 25th anniversary dinner of the Hong Kong Exhibition and Convention Industry Association (HKECIA) today (June 30):

Javed (Chairman of the HKECIA, Mr Javed Khan), distinguished guests, ladies and gentlemen,

     Good evening.

     It is my great pleasure to be here tonight to celebrate with all of you the silver jubilee anniversary of the Hong Kong Exhibition and Convention Industry Association (HKECIA). This is a very important milestone signifying the success of our convention and exhibition industries.

     Over the past 25 years, the convention and exhibition industries have contributed much to the economic development of Hong Kong, and helped maintain our leading position as an international business hub. This is owed in no small part to the devotion and professionalism of HKECIA members in promoting our advantages overseas, setting market trends and grooming talents.

     With the tremendous efforts made by the trade in collaboration with the Government, Hong Kong has become a premier MICE (meetings, incentive travels, conventions and exhibitions) destination in the region. Every year, we host a wide range of world-renowned exhibitions which attract buyers and exhibitors from around the globe to do business in Hong Kong. Some of our exhibitions are the world's largest, such as the jewellery, watch and clock, and gifts and premium fairs, just to name a few. A great number of large-scale conventions relating to professional fields, such as the medical and financial services professions, are also staged in Hong Kong each year. These conventions have enhanced our international profile, and at the same time promoted the development of these sectors.

     In 2014, Hong Kong was once again selected as the "Best Business City in the World" by the Business Traveller Asia Pacific magazine, as well as "Asia's Best City for Business Events" by readers of CEI Asia Pacific magazine. Though Hong Kong is widely recognised as a preferred MICE destination, we cannot rest on our laurels, and should continue to further strengthen our edge in the face of intensifying competition from neighbouring cities.

     To further enhance our appeal as a MICE capital in the region, we will continue to support the MICE promotion work of the Hong Kong Tourism Board. To this end, the Government has allocated an additional $15 million annually to the Tourism Board for three years starting from 2014-15 to scale up the bidding packages. The Tourism Board will beef up the scale of the hospitality offers for MICE event organisers, so as to increase our competitiveness in attracting more prestigious and high value-adding international MICE events.

     On the infrastructure side, we are well aware of the trade's earnest wish to see more convention and exhibition venues in Hong Kong to meet the growing demand. At our invitation, the Hong Kong Trade Development Council is proceeding with the planning of a new convention centre above the Exhibition Station of the new Shatin to Central Link.

     Ladies and gentlemen, the past weekend was the Dragon Boat Festival. I love watching dragon boat racing, because it is the ultimate team sport, and all team members must paddle in unison to propel the boat. I am delighted to see the same spirit of "unity" among you all. You have all been working together and contributing tirelessly to the success of our MICE industry. With our concerted efforts, I have full confidence that our MICE industry will reach new heights in the years to come.

     Finally, I wish you all an enjoyable evening and the HKECIA continued success.

     Thank you.

Ends/Tuesday, June 30, 2015
Issued at HKT 23:17


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