Red tape cut for venues
Hiring Urban Council venues is being made easier, following a drop in bookings at one of its most popular arenas.
The changes, effective from March 1, include abolition of under-utilisation fees, a grace period for over-run charges, longer planning and booking periods and the availability of more complimentary tickets.
The amendments came after meetings with hirers, some of whom had complained about the amount of red tape involved in booking events at venues.
Bookings at the 4,000-seat Queen Elizabeth Stadium in Wan Chai fell 13 per cent last year.
'Everywhere the consumer market is not in a good position and entertainment is not a necessity for many people so that is an area where they may spend less,' said Urban Services Department chief manager of stadiums and entertainment, Vivienne Li Wai-wun.
'We hope the new booking regulations will help to bring the figures up again.' The stadium's 11,000-seat bigger brother - the Hong Kong Coliseum - maintained its annual average of 55 events in 1998, representing 90 per cent of its capacity.
Ms Li said bookings at the Coliseum had a more powerful market of bigger, headlining events, and had suffered less.