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– a resounding success
HELD at the Hong Kong Convention & Exhibition Centre (HKCEC) from May 10-13, HOFEX 2005 attracted a participation of 36 national and regional groups and 1,800 exhibiting companies from 55 countries and regions.
The show also drew a record number of 28,605 trade visitors, of whom 28% were from overseas. Some 60 buyer groups attended the show, including from Macau, mainland China, South Korea and Australia.
The event, which was based on two main themes — Food-service Equipment & Hospitality Supplies and Food & Drinks — occupied three main halls of the HKCEC, covering over 28,000sqm of exhibition space.
Daniel Cheung, general manager of Hong Kong Exhibition Services (HKES), the organiser of HOFEX 2005, was pleased with the new show records. “It is a very important event, which shapes, to a great extent, the future of the hotel and hospitality industry in the Asia-Pacific region,” he said.
Cheung said that visitors at the show could see demonstrations of F&B products as well as hospitality technologies made available today for tomorrow. It is also a platform for the exchange of international experience and ideas contributing to the industry’s development.
“This year, we had several very important buyer delegations from Macau as well,” said Cheung.
Macau has plans to build a hotel industry that will be “even bigger than Hong Kong’s”, he added. Last year, Hong Kong had over 22 million visitors and 42,000 hotel rooms, compared with Macau’s 16 million visitors and 9,000 rooms.
To cater to the demand, Macau is planning to increase the number of its hotel rooms to 66,000 over the next 10 years; thus, the potential for companies catering for the hospitality, F&B and retail industries is enormous.
Currently, there are at least 10 projects under construction and these include hotels, hotels combined with casinos, malls and theme parks. Owners of these developments as well as existing hotels/casinos were among the buyers shopping at HOFEX 2005, said Cheung. The buyer delegation from Macau includes representatives from Venetian Macau, Wynn Resorts, Galaxy Casino, Macau Fisherman’s Wharf and Hotel Lisboa, said Cheung.
He attributed the success of this year’s show to the improved economies regionwide. “Overall, economies across Asia have shown significant resilience in 2004,” he pointed out. “Business in-vestment had revived in 2004 due to surging export demand, low interest rates and recovering business confidence. The positive external environment further strengthened by strong domestic demand and buoyant intraregional trade, will enable the region to grow at an average GDP rate of 6.25% in 2005.
“Judging from the response to the show — the number of exhibitors, the size of the show and the number of preregistered buyers — we can see that the hotel, tourism, retail, F&B industries are booming and bouncing back strongly.
“HOFEX is well positioned to capture this growth across the region, particularly in mainland China, which is seeing a surge in foreign investment into the country following its entry into the World Trade Organisation.” This impressive turnout affirmed the calibre and prominence of HOFEX as the leading sourcing and networking platform for professionals in the region’s
food and hospitality industries.
Concurrent events at the show also received pronounced recognition and commendations from all participants, including speakers, judges, delegates and competitors, said HKES. An encore of these events was requested by the industry’s leading players for the next edition of HOFEX, as a conducive networking environment and platform for experience sharing were created.
The finale of HOFEX 2005 kicked off preparations for HOFEX 2007, which will be held from May 13-16 at the HKCEC.