The 11th Gay Games (GGHK) to be held in Hong Kong next year will be postponed to 2023, due primarily to the pandemic and volatility in travel restrictions, which pose challenges for foreign participants.
Originally slated for November 2022, the event — its first run in Asia — is now postponed to November 2023, although an exact date is yet to be announced.
Dennis Philipse, Co-Chair of GGHK, noted that apart from a pandemic that is yet to be contained, there is also the problem of uncertain travel restrictions, both internationally and in Hong Kong.
"We have decided to postpone the Games now to give sufficient time for the FGG (Federation of Gay Games) member organisations to develop an
appropriate training schedule for the Games, and make alternate arrangements for their 2022 tournaments.
"Postponement also allows GGHK to properly execute our contingency plan of organising the games at private venues.”
According to Hong Kong Chief Executive, Carrie Lam, the destination has "enjoyed a surge in enquiries from potential corporate sponsors and private venue partners since June, when the Games were first debated in Hong Kong’s Legislative Council".
"We felt that a postponement now will increase the likelihood that our city’s return to the world stage would be a triumphant one which would most closely mirror our initial projections.”
About 12,000 participants and 75,000 spectators were expected in the original plans, as well as a HK$1 billion (US$128 million) lifeline to the battered local economy, said Regina Ip, member of the Legislative Council of Hong Kong, who supported the event's postponement.
"[This] will give the organisers more time and resources to focus on hosting a successful event, and encourage more multi-sports events to be hosted in our incredible city," said Ip.
Allan Zeman, Chairman of the Lan Kwai Fong Group in Hong Kong said: "It is understandable that major sports events are delayed during the pandemic, but the worldwide audience still enjoyed the Tokyo Olympics and Paralympics. I believe the same would happen to the Games in 2023, which would allow a more engaging and a safe environment for everyone."
Sean Fitzgerald, Co-President of FGG said that the federation will continue to work with the GGHK team and member organisations to ensure the "widest possible attendance from Asia and internationally".
Hong Kong was chosen over 17 other cities as the first Asian destination to host the GGHK, and also recently announced winning host city rights for major tech conference, RISE, happening for the next five years until 2026.