One of Hong Kong's biggest conferences in recent months, ITU Telecom Asia 2000, was also one of the strongest for the non-profit International Telecommunication Union, according to ITU press officer Piers Letcher. 'It's been easily the best event we've ever had,' Mr Letcher said. The United Nations arm put on a show that attracted about 45,000 visitors, although some were in and out in a day, Mr Letcher said. The standards organisation is due to release its show figures at a news conference this afternoon. The event was 48 per cent larger than the 1997 Asian telecoms conference held in Singapore, in terms of floor space, he said. The organisation rented 27,896 square metres from the Hong Kong Convention and Exhibition Centre, versus 18,781 sq m three years ago. It also had 500 exhibitors from 29 countries. These visitors paid about HK$1 million in entrance fees, Mr Letcher said. ITU board members met on Wednesday to discuss possible host venues for the next ITU Telecom Asia, due to be held in 2002. They shortened the list from eight contenders to four: Hong Kong, Singapore, Malaysia and South Korea, Mr Letcher said. The ITU board is also debating whether to limit the floor space per exhibitor at the next conference. Exhibitors included names such as Ericsson, Nokia and Lucent Technologies. Some exhibitors had huge, two-storey stands complete with 'booth bunnies', or young women often clad in short, silver outfits with go-go boots. Some blared dance music or had golf-putting contests, draws, dance shows and more. 'They compete for the brightest, noisiest stand. And we don't encourage it,' Mr Letcher said.