Show builds up feast of interest

WITHIN the hospitality and catering industry, the biennial Hofex fair is one of the most important events on the marketing calendar.

The show aims to be as comprehensive as possible and incorporates many aspects relevant to the food, catering and hotel industries.

This year's event drew an overwhelming response with the show doubling in size from 1991 and occupying two and a half levels at the Hong Kong Convention and Exhibition Centre.

The show drew 1,139 companies from 38 countries and attracted 16,585 visitors to the four-day show.

Part of the reason for the show's success was the fact that it is aimed at the heart of the Hong Kong tourism industry - its hotel and catering sectors.

The show, organised by Hong Kong Exhibition Services, was supported by industry leaders - the Hong Kong Hotels' Association, the Hong Kong Chefs' Association, the Hong Kong Bartenders' Association and the Hong Kong Bakery and Confectionary Association.

Conferences included the role of the sommelier, inflight services and special meals and the Asian Bakery and Confectionary conference.

Steven Seet, former general manager of Hong Kong Exhibition Services, said the size of Hofex and the increase in international attendance reflected Hong Kong's move towards a leading position in hospitality and tourism-related industries in the wider Asian region.

''China's growing tourism industry and Beijing's bid to host the Olympics 2000 will also have a hand in spurring Hofex to become the largest of its kind in Asia in future years,'' he said.

The bakery consultant marketing manager of Kolb, Peter Suter, said more international business had been done with many more overseas visitors attending.

Hong Kong dominated with 284 exhibitors; the United States had 160; France was represented by 95 participants; Germany 75; and Singapore was the second largest Asian participator with 57.

Leading the international list of buyers were those from China, Taiwan, the Philippines and Thailand.

The success of Hofex has inspired the launch of a new exhibition - Food and Hotel China '94, which is scheduled to take place from September 26 to 29 next year at the China World Trade Centre in Beijing.

The other major exhibition organised by Hong Kong Exhibition Services is a five-pronged fair, with concurrent shows aimed at the building industry.

Asian Elenex, supported by the Hong Kong Electrical Contractors' Association, is described as an electrical and electronic engineering show, but covers such diverse areas as transformers and power generators, to security systems and lighting.

Luminex covers lighting, fittings and systems and all facets from lamp fittings and filaments to dimmers, emergency lighting and switches.

Securitex covers both security systems, such as glass, gates, intruder detection and personal security equipment, to fire detection systems and is supported by the Crime Prevention Bureau, the Royal Hong Kong Police and the Institute of Fire Prevention Officers, among others.

Airvex tells everything there is to know about air-conditioning, ventilation, heating and refrigeration. It also covers sanitation and plumbing technology.

The latest addition to the family is IBS - International Building Services and Systems exhibition.

This should be of great interest to developers, covering building maintenance systems, automation, fire prevention and facilities management.

Far removed from such matters are the main events organised by the Hong Kong Trade Fair Group.

Its ''babies'' are the Hong Kong Industrial Trade Fair, the Cosmetics, Hair and Beauty Exhibition and the Hong Kong Money Exhibition.

It is also concerned with, what is arguably the second most important leather trade fair in the world after Semaine Internationale Du Cuir in Paris, the International Leather Exhibition, which was the first Hong Kong exhibition to achieve a world rating and the first audited exhibition in the territory.

Between the many exhibition and conference organisers in Hong Kong, just about every area of life is covered.

And yet, there seems always room for expansion, always new goals to attain as Hong Kong consolidates its position as a leading venue for international trade fairs and conferences.