With pandemics in better control and vaccinations started, Hong Kong now more ready to reopen borders, which many been calling so as to speedily revive the economy and meet pent-up travel demand! In fact, the call to reopen borders echo in many parts of the World.
Hong Kong’s daily total of new case been dropping from lower triple digits in last November to double digits in January. In February, about half of the days saw daily total lower than 20 while in other days the daily new case mostly range between 20 and 40; and vaccination started with now two types of vaccine available. Into March, there are more days with daily new cases in single digit. On March 17, Hong Kong Chief Executive revealed in the Legislative Council efforts to lobby the mainland to waive some parts of its inbound restrictions for vaccinated Hong Kong citizens.
In Hong Kong, there exist strong pent-up travel demand once restrictions lifted, revealed in a series of survey last year on ITE’s public and trade visitors! An online survey in late January this year with over 1700 replies from Hong Kong travel agents and hotels found around 20% respondents think it possible to resume cross border travel within 6 months (July this year) with mainland China cities.
ITE 2021 goes Hybrid & Safety Measures in Fairground
In short, good chance successfully holding ITE Hong Kong 2021, but for a wider safety margin and more time for preparations its date moves from June to July 29 – August 1.
Preparations include, for examples, installing health and safety measures in the fairground; and activating online platform for not only for pre and post show online meetings but also as contingency during ITE just in case then some borders still remain closed. Based on bookings in May and June last year, ITE2021 will use 3 halls, namely Halls 1A, B and C of HKCEC, instead of 5 in a normal year!
ITE well covers the Hong Kong-Macao Greater Bay Area (the Bay) comprises the two Special Administrative Regions of Hong Kong and Macao, Guangzhou, Shenzhen and 7 other municipalities in Guangdong Province. The Bay has over 72 million people but total number of confirmed cases fewer than 14,000! At the end of 2019, the Bay has a combined GDP of USD 1,679.5 billion and per capita GDP at USD 23,371. Thus, the Bay is a large and relatively safe source market.
The annual ITE, which is Hong Kong’s only travel fair, has in its 2 trade days some 11000 buyers and trade visitors of whom over 60% from Hong Kong and 20% from other cities in the Bay; and around 85% of its some 75000 visitors in the 2 public days are FIT. That ITE 2021 eligible for government subsidy means exhibitors, foreign and local included, can enjoy substantial discount on space rental. (Details of our online platform, safety measures, profiles of visitors and market reports available at www.itehk.com)
Worldwide, efforts to launch Vaccine Passport & Reviving Tourism
In a move described by some foreign media as a first step to a global health passport for international travel, China on March 8 launch online application for Health Certificate! March 15, China’s embassies in Philippines, USA, Japan, Pakistan, Israel, Thailand and Gabon streamline visa procedure for foreigners inoculated with Chinese vaccine who visit China for business or humanitarian reason. This applies also to foreigners living in Hong Kong.
IATA, the International Air Transport Association launches a Travel Pass mobile app which from March 15 Singapore Airline will use in some routes while 30 other airlines will start trial in the coming 2 months. IATA, in media interview this month, project personal and leisure travel will return from the second half of this year and tourists hungry to be free again.
EU leaders agreed in a virtual summit on Feb 25 to launch vaccine passport on or before coming summer to help tourism industry to recover. In fact, the European Travel Commission, which conducted “Monitoring Sentiment for Domestic and Intra-European Travel” in last November and December, found growing interest to travel. The December survey found 52% of the European respondents plan to travel within the coming 6 months, which is 5% higher than that in November.
From March 25, Seychelles will reopen to tourists with negative PCR test result. Thailand consider start selling inbound tour package in April, and from Oct 1, Thai resort islands of Phuket and Koh Samui will admit vaccinated foreign tourists without or with limited quarantine. Indonesia will form reciprocal travel corridor with countries with successful vaccination program, thus foreign visitors may visit Bali in June. Meanwhile, UK re-opening border as early as in May, and Greece on May 14.
First held over 30 years ago, ITE Hong Kong is organized by TKS Exhibition Services Ltd. and enjoys strong support from China’s Ministry of Culture and Tourism, with Hong Kong Tourism Board, Macau Government Tourist Office, Travel Industry Council of Hong Kong and MICE trade associations etc. as Supporter!
Highly international, 675 exhibitors in 2019 came from 56 countries and regions from Asia, Europe, the Americas and Oceania, and Africa; and 87.5% exhibitors from outside Hong Kong. Also, around half of the exhibiting countries and regions from outside Asia. ITE has separate days, admission policy, programs and promotions for its travel trade, MICE and FIT visitors.
ITE’s B2B program include Concurrent Trade Forum, 25 to 30 seminars for travel trade and MICE, and Business Matching where sellers and buyers make quick dating. Also, exhibitor can rent purpose built seminar room inside exhibition halls to conduct its own business events, and the organizer will provide free promotion to get trade visitors to pre-register online.
ITE draws in public days quality FIT who are well educated as over 40% of them with university while another 20% post-secondary education; travel enthusiasts with 13% having 6 or more oversea holidays in past year, 47% having 3 to 5 holidays and 37% having 1 to 2 holidays. Their two main purposes of visiting ITE are to plan and book holidays, and they fill up many of our some 100 travel seminars held in the public days.
In short, ITE provides to the international travel trade a one-stop shopping platform covering the Asian travel trade mainly from Hong Kong and mainland China, MICE and quality FIT. For details, enquiry and space / booth booking etc., please visit www.itehk.com or contact TKS via Email: firstname.lastname@example.org | Wechat: ite-hongkong | Tel: +852 31550600.