Mega fund proposals to put priority on tourism

PUBLISHED : Tuesday, 27 March, 2012, 12:00am
UPDATED : Tuesday, 27 March, 2012, 12:00am


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Non-profit organisations are likely to be offered money from a multimillion-dollar government fund to stage events aimed at bringing tourists to Hong Kong.

The move is planned under reforms to the Mega Events Fund, which previously prioritised sports and the fine arts.

The proposals would also mean stricter rules for applicants, who would have to forecast how many tourists the event is likely to attract.

The fund started in 2009 with HK$100 million and was given a HK$150 million boost last year.

The new proposals were outlined to legislators yesterday by the Commerce and Economic Development Bureau. The fund would also aim to attract privately-run international events to the city, the bureau told a meeting of the Legislative Council's economic development panel.

Permanent Secretary for Commerce, Industry and Tourism Andrew Wong Ho-yuen said more Chinese-style cultural activities were expected from fund applicants.

But Civic Party lawmaker Tanya Chan questioned the approach.

'How many tourists would come here specifically for a Chinese-style activity?' she asked. 'Shouldn't the promotion of Chinese culture be a task of, say, the Home Affairs Bureau rather than the Commerce and Economic Development Bureau?'

Miriam Lau Kin-yee, of the Liberal Party, said: 'Germany has the bierfest, Thailand has the songkran festival and Brazil the carnival. What does Hong Kong have, actually?'

The scope of events eligible for subsidies would widen, with applications to hold beer festivals, pop concerts or fashion shows welcomed.

The bureau said that over HK$51 million had been allocated from the fund to 16 events, which attracted 170,000 tourists into the city and generated 10,000 jobs.

Events it sponsored last year included the Hong Kong Open golf tournament, the cricket sixes and the International Jazz Festival.