Event Tourism and Hong Kong

According to D. Getz, Event Tourism is the systematic planning, development, marketing of events as tourist attractions,  which increase...

According to D. Getz, Event Tourism is the systematic planning, development, marketing of events as tourist attractions, which increases the pace of other developments, image builders and animators of attractions and destination areas. 

To elaborate his definition, event tourism is used to increase tourism in a particular destination. It targets not only the locals living in the area, but also those who live further away and would travel just to see or participate in the event. It has a lot of benefits such as: More infrastructures are to be built that are going to be used in the event. Examples are road constructions to improve traffic, coliseums, convention centres - all that can be used in the future by the community even after the event itself; It creates jobs to the community not just during the event itself, but for a specific period covering before or even after it. Look for example the Olympic buildings in Beijing which are still used by the locals even after the Olympics. Also, more jobs that are created in the community which could boost the economy; Another benefit of event tourism is it enhances the image of a destination itself. The term of the event can be glued to the name of the place, thus, shall the event create a positive idea, this positive idea will be remembered too when the name of the place is heard. For example, when you think about OctoberFest, you thought of Munich, Germany. When you hear the word Rio Carnival, you think of this great party in Rio de Janeiro; During the low season, when there are supposed to be lesser visitors in a destination due to climate, special events helps in attracting tourists. For example, Fun Nation in Abu Dhabi held during the heat of August; Event Tourism also contributes to the Government tax; If a destination participates in an event, the manpower experience is built up, thus in the future, there is a possibility of organizing the same or similar event in the said place again hiring the same professionals; These tourism events also improve in the exchanging of knowledge. For example, Art Basel which is held in Basel, Hong Kong and Miami, one of the most premier art shows promoting contemporary art and supporting artists. 

D. Getz also stated that the market segment consists of those people who travel to attend events, or who can be motivated to attend events while away from home. There are different kinds of event: 
  • Mega events - The volume shall exceed one million visits with a reputation of a "must-see". It must yield extraordinarily high levels of tourism. 
  • Hallmark events - Events that become identified with the spirit of destination that they become synonymous with the name of the city or area.
  • Major events - Attracts significant visitor numbers, media coverage, and economic benefits. Examples are SEA Games, Arts Carnival or Historic events. Or major conventions and exhibitions. Conventions bring participants together to share information and create high awareness for these destinations. Exhibitions bring suppliers together in one place,  displaying their goods and services with buyers. Exhibitions are restricted to industry members only or can be open to general public, writes David Wong. 
  • Local events - This is a type of event that helps spread awareness in a community and is usually on a smaller scale. It helps local businesses. An example of this is the British Food Festival in Hong Kong which I attended last weekend. It focuses on the British culture and attracted not just the British people living in Hong Kong, but also the locals. It created a nostalgia and reminded those who attend of what Hong Kong was used to be before the handover. 

The stakeholders or the individual or a group who are affected by the events could be the following: Hotels, Airlines, Travel Agents, Convention centres, Convention organizers and support services, Advertising Agents, Restaurants, Retailers, Transportation such as coach, MTR Airport express, sightseeing spots, etc. These stakeholders are interested in the profit they can make during the event. 

Hong Kong as an event city has its advantages and disadvantages. Organizers consider the factors before deciding whether Hong Kong is the right place for their events. Its geographical location in the east makes it one of the best destination. It is situated in the middle between China, Philippines, Korea, Indonesia, Thailand and Vietnam. Direct flights are available to/ from the major cities all over the world including the US, Europe, Australasia, and Africa. 

It has a very developed transportation system, a variety that includes the MTR, taxis, buses that came along with a convenient payment system: the Octopus. The transportation system comes frequently following a schedule. There are also interactive maps in some of the walkways. Alternatively, Wi-Fi is also available in major establishments, while Google Maps cover the majority of the city. When people are lost, they can easily enter 7Eleven or McDonalds, connect to the Wifi and look for their location. Hong Kong is a city where you can get lost, but easy to find your way back. 

Secondly, Hong Kong has a professional manpower. The literacy rate is very high compared to neighboring countries. Workers are also well-experienced in handling events because most likely they have handled it before. Hong Kong people, in general, are hardworking and are eager to learn. A lot can speak the English language which is the international language, making the communication a lot easier. A tourist does not necessarily need a guide unless they cannot speak in Mandarin or English. 

Hong Kong is also very competitive with a wide range of accommodation covering from budget to the luxury sector. It is a major city with sufficient hotel supply. According to a document released by the Tourism commission of Hong Kong, as of March 2016, Hong Kong has a total of 257 hotels, proving 74,000 rooms per day. Along with the above reasons, it is also a safe city relatively with fast action from police upon dialing the emergency number. 

The disadvantages are quite a number too. Hong Kong is a mature destination which is for organizers, they may have been already before, thus they won't consider Hong Kong again. There are also other cities nearby that can be considered. Also, there is no doubt that Hong Kong is an expensive city. The professionals or staff and the venues are more pricey than other nearby cities. The staff may have the experience, but at the end of the day, if there is not enough budget, Hong Kong can easily be crossed out of the list. Also, there are very limited venues to be considered for big events: Asia World Expo, Convention Centres, the Harbourfront, could be used but when it comes to, let us say sports events, there are not enough facilities. The building of Kai Tak Sports Park on 2018 which hopefully can solve the problem. The infrastructure will be finished by 2022, but until then, there are no other facilities where a major event can be held. 

Note: The above document is for my revision purposes for an exam in Events, Entertainment and Conventions module. 

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