Exhibition centres feel the strain
The report, "No plan to expand exhibition centres" (January 10), appears to suggest that Hong Kong has sufficient supplies of venue space to develop its exhibition interests over the coming years.
As an international organiser and co-founder of the Hong Kong International Art Fair, which has recently been relaunched as Art Basel Hong Kong, I feel I can refute this with some authority.
While a closer dialogue between the existing venues is undoubtedly to be encouraged, the fact remains that different exhibitions and events have different requirements and time lines which are dictated by the global calendar in a particular industry.
Some events require city centre locations, while for others, proximity to the airport would be considered a vital ingredient.
Investigations would show that many shows are restricted in their capacity to expand by limitations on space while many others cannot be fitted into the crowded calendar of events, particularly in the peak season of international shows.
Art Basel Hong Kong currently occupies a May time line when the global calendar dictates that it should take place in March. The US$500 million that this event brings to Hong Kong every year will be jeopardised if this position cannot be rectified due to the lack of available space in March.
Equally, there are numerous fairs that would come to Hong Kong if the space were available, and I know of several other organisers in the same frustrating position who end up taking their event to other parts of Asia.
The future of Hong Kong as the dominant venue for international exhibitions and events will undoubtedly come under pressure unless plans are made to expand the existing opportunities in the centre of the city.
It is unrealistic to believe that some shows can simply relocate to AsiaWorld-Expo to enlarge the calendar of events where the investment and accompanying risk make choosing the right venue a key priority.
For anyone to believe exhibition organisers can manipulate the international calendar of events to suit Hong Kong's availability is naive.
It is also potentially very damaging for the long-term future of Hong Kong as a global international exhibition and event hub for the region.
Sandy Angus, director, Asian Art Fairs Ltd