Hong Kong could be looking at banding its culture, sports and tourism bureaus together under one roof, in an effort to rebuild the destination's standing as a MICE, creative and sports events hub.
The idea was proposed by Hong Kong Chief Executive Carrie Lam at the 2021 Policy Address on 6 October, with under six months to go before the next chief executive selection.
Dr Pang Yiu-kai, Chairman of the Hong Kong Tourism Board (HKTB) has welcomed the proposal, nothing that the new bureau would "consolidate Hong Kong's position as the MICE and tourism capital of the Greater Bay Area, as well as an international travel destination through hosting major international MICE events".
HKTB added that 14 large-scale international MICE events have been secured for the next few years, with some 60,000 attendees expected for events such as RISE, and the first Greater Bay Area Artificial Intelligence and Robotics Conference 2022.
Meanwhile, Hong Kong's business events sector has been keeping busy, with Hong Kong Convention and Exhibition Centre hosting 25 local exhibitions amounting to 1.29 million attendees in recent months.
If confirmed, the new Culture, Sports and Tourism Bureau — the largest restructuring since 2007 — will also develop Hong Kong into a “hub for arts and cultural exchange between China and the rest of the world”.
Under China's latest five-year plan, several arts and cultural facilities are already sprouting, especially in Kowloon East and the West Kowloon Cultural District.
The region’s Olympic Committee Chairman Timothy Fok has also welcomed the proposal, pointing out that the new bureau could attract events such as the annual Rugby Sevens, as sport tourism gains prominence in Hong Kong.
This includes the Kai Tak Sports Park due in 2023, and plans for a new facility at the Hong Kong Sports Institute by 2024 — leading up to the China National Games in 2025, co hosted by Hong Kong, Guangdong and Macau.