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38 / ConferenCe & Meetings World / issUe 67Hong KongAbove: Hong Kong has a varied offering for MiCe visitorsVisitor arrivals to Hong Kong in 2011hktb42MOrganiser's view Toby Duckworth, Business Development Manager for AspermontUK, organises mining events in Hong Kong: Mines and Money, Hong Kong Gold Investment Forum and Mongolia Investment Summit (HK). He says:"Hong Kong is a great place to host an event if you are looking for an Asia-Pacific base. It's easy to get to, clean, safe, well-built and Westernised, making it an obvious choice."The venues can be very expensive. You can rent one of the 'Ball Rooms', at one of the leading hotels for about US$55,000 for two days. You can have a 300-seated conference, 30 exhibitors and a reg area. But be warned, they will charge you another US$55,000 if you want the venue over night! Having to dismantle at the end of day one so that the evening booking can come in is far from desirable. However if there is no evening booking, they won't charge you the difference. The Convention and Exhibition Centre is pretty pricey too, but it's a great venue, and it has rooms of all sizes if you're event is too big for one of the event friendly hotels."The airport is efficient and you can get there from almost anywhere worldwide. You can check your bags in miles away from the actual airport in the centre of town, and then just turn up for the flight and your bags are on board ready to go. The MTR (underground) system is fast, large, air-conditioned and has phone signal and Wi-Fi, it's often quicker than a cab, though cabs are everywhere and cost peanuts. Transport is great on the whole."Five star in Asia is real five star, you are closer to the gods over there, it's special. The efficiency of the staff onsite at the Convention and Exhibition Centre is second to none too, they are very eager to please. Put an empty mug down and it will disappear in seconds."If you have a global audience then it is a great location for travel. It also adds something fun to the mix; exhibitors and delegates alike love to visit for the late night bars, restaurants, shopping and overall atmosphere. We run an event at the same time as the Rugby Sevens too, a great pull for delegates.""We will sustain our collaboration with the MICE and travel trade sectors to enhance Hong Kong's competitiveness and appeal as a MICE destination. Just recently, we joined a number of Lantau-based MICE and related trade partners to roll out a new campaign designed for promoting Lantau as a MICE hub. Through this campaign, we aim to attract a greater number of MICE events to the island, and generate more business for the tourism sector."We are strongly encouraged by the robust performance of our tourism industry in 2011. Not only did our visitor arrivals reach a historic high of almost 42m, but our tourism receipts will also likely surpass US$32bn."Latest developmentsHong Kong is continuing to invest in developments to the region. The former airport at Kai Tak, which was moved to the Chek Lap Kok region, has left a vast area for redevelopment. Part of the development is a new cruise terminal due to open in mid 2013 with space for two mega cruise vessels offering diverse choices for cruise incentive programmes.The West Kowloon Cultural District is spending US$21.6bn on a project to boost cultural and entertainment establishments in the area. The plans are due to come to fruition in 2015 and include a new modern art museum, numerous theatres, concert halls and performance venues.An investment of US$10.7bn has been put into the Hong Kong Zhuhai to Macau bridge which will span 50km and improve access to global markets throughout Hong Kong. This will open up the oppotunity for organisers to put together new multi-destination itineraries. Perhaps the largest development, though, is the Pearl River Delta development in which city planners in south China have laid out an ambitious plan to merge together the nine cities that lie around the Pearl River Delta.The Turn The Pearl River Delta Into One scheme will create a 16,000 square mile urban area. The new mega-city will cover a large part of China's manufacturing heartland, stretching from Guangzhou to Shenzhen and include Foshan, Dongguan, Zhongshan, Zhuhai, Jiangmen, Huizhou and Zhaoqing. Together, they account for nearly a tenth of the Chinese economy.Over the next six years, around 150 major infrastructure projects will mesh the transport, energy, water and telecommunications networks of the nine cities together. An express rail line will also connect the hub with nearby Hong Kong.HKTB's Executive Director, Antony Lau, said: "HKTB will continue to invest in the MICE business and step up its marketing efforts to drive further increases in MICE arrivals. "Through all these efforts, we aim at bringing more MICE events and visitors to Hong Kong, and generating more business opportunities for our trade partners."And business wins have been aplenty in 2012 for the destination. In May 4,000 delegates are due to attend the Asian Attractions Expo 2012, in June 5,000 people are expected at the JCI Asia Pacific Conference 2012, in September the FDI Annual World Dental Congress is expected to attract 12,000 delegates, the International Cotton Association Trade Event for 1,000 people in due to take place in November and the 8th International Symposium of Ophthalmology for 2,000 delegates in December. The Forever Living Rally for 5,000 and the Bayer Sales Conference for 6,000 delegates are other big wins. Hong Kong tourism Board