Number of convention visitors rises by 10pc
The number of overnight visitors for meetings, incentives, conventions and exhibitions (or Mice) rose 10 per cent in the first six months of the year, but a lawmaker said more visitors would have come if the government had better facilities.
According to the tourism board, of the 725,800 arrivals, more than 40 per cent came from the mainland - a 15 per cent increase on last year.
The growth was caused by continuous growth of the mainland economy, which had fuelled demands for meetings and incentive travel, a spokesman for the board said.
Large events, including the Asian Aerospace International Expo and ARTHK 2011, pulled in many visitors from long-haul and short-haul markets, as well as first-time exhibitors in the city, he said.
Board executive director Anthony Lau Chun-hon estimated that overnight Mice arrivals would continue to grow in the second half of the year.
Major conventions and exhibitions, including the 2011 Asian Seafood Exposition and the SIGGRAPH Conference and Exhibition on Computer Graphics and Interactive Techniques in Asia, are expected to draw several thousand participants.
The lawmaker for the tourism sector, Paul Tse Wai-chun, said despite the apparently rosy figures, the city could do a lot more to attract such business travellers.
'We don't have enough facilities. Even compared with Macau, we have few places for exhibitions.
'In order to do even better we should question what is actually the problem with the venue,' he said.
'The issue is especially important when the government is considering expanding the Hong Kong Convention and Exhibition Centre now.'