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Hong Kong is gearing up to host ‘one mega event every two days’

The ambitious programme poses a direct challenge to Macao as both SARs vie to host major sporting, cultural and business events to boost tourism
  • Hong Kong officials say the event line-up for the year is expected to inject HK$4.3 billion into the local economy

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PUBLISHED

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Hong Kong’s Chief Executive John Lee has announced the city will host “one mega event every two days” over the next six months – including art exhibitions, sports fixtures and top-level business conferences – the South China Morning Post reports. The move throws down the gauntlet to Macao, which has launched an ambitious event programme of its own in a bid to boost visitors.

Lee said the year’s line-up of more than 210 “mega events” was expected to inject HK$4.3 billion (US$551 million) into the local economy. Eligible for government subsidies, these events are intended to draw about 1.7 million visitors to Macao’s near neighbour.

“I’ve mentioned many times that the government will not rely on one way to boost the local economy,” he stated on Tuesday. “The variety of events hosted in Hong Kong will create opportunities for attracting people and [revenue].”

[See more: Is Macao ready to be a ‘City of Sports and Shows’? Lawmakers have doubts]

Hong Kong’s deputy financial secretary, Michael Wong, described mega events as “value for money” for Hong Kong, as the projected financial gains would outweigh the HK$200 million the  government was spending on subsidies this year.

The city’s culture, sports and tourism secretary Kevin Yeung acknowledged the public’s concerns over such events after Lionel Messi’s spectacular no-show at a football match in February. The PR debacle saw furious fans demanding refunds and the government lambasting the organiser, lifestyle magazine publisher Tatler Asia.

Yeung said that the government had withdrawn the initial subsidy it had granted to Tatler Asia, and stressed that Hong Kong’s government was currently reviewing its funding arrangements for future mega events.

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