ITE HK 2005 set to get bigger

File picture of ITE04

WITH six months to go TKS, organiser of Hong Kong International Travel Expo 2005 (ITE HK 2005), has reported good progress and expressed confidence to be able to largely fulfill the plan of 50 per cent expansion for the event.

“Not only will ITE05 be bigger, it will also be more comprehensive with more new exhibitors and, at the same time, more exhibits from past exhibitors,” says KS Tong, managing director of TKS. In last November, TKS had announced that the next ITE will be held in a bigger hall of the Hong Kong Convention and Exhibition Centre.
The last event had a slightly smaller scale but buyer and trade visitor attendance went up by over 20 per cent with queues especially on the first day when it opened. ITE04 had drawn about 500 international exhibitors and their co-exhibitors, 8,400 buyers and trade visitors with 35 per cent coming from outside Hong Kong, and 55,000 visitors during its two public days. Local exhibitors accounted for only 25 per cent so ITE does have a relatively good international profile of exhibitors.
“Past exhibitors are not just coming back and some have already confirmed very significant expansion. We are expecting more new exhibitors too,” says Maggie Chiu, TKS’ marketing manager. “From the Middle East, for example, Bahrain and Dubai have confirmed their participations while we’re in discussion with other new exhibitors from the Middle East.” South Africa has reportedly doubled its space requirement and Cambodia will take two times more space. Romania will be participating for the first time in ITE and will take 48 sq m and Ho Chi Ming City of Vietnam will take 36 sq m.
“We have been working closely with seven Latin American Consulates in Hong Kong and expect a Latin American Pavilion this year,” adds Chiu. With over five million Hong Kong citizens went overseas in 2004 and another 53 million to Mainland China and Macau, Hong Kong is by itself an important source of outbound travellers. The neighbouring province of Guangdong province has over one million outbound tourists each year, and those visiting Asean countries often went through Hong Kong to tap into its more frequent international flight schedules. Therefore, Hong Kong remains an effective gateway to China especially for its southern provinces.
Of the 8,400 trade visitors in last ITE, nearly 1,700 of them came from China and another 1,200 came from overseas. TKS believes that a bigger and more comprehensive ITE will likely attract more overseas buyers and trade visitors. However, the organiser has been stepping up preparations for recruiting overseas buyers and visitors. Last December, Cathay has confirmed details of sponsorship for overseas buyers of ITE. Cathay is also considering offer special fares to trade visitors and exhibitors of ITE. TKS will continue to co-operate closely with relevant trade associations.
A number of new tourist attractions in Hong Kong will open in this year. They include the Disneyland, Cable Car to the Sunset Peak where the huge iron Budda Statue sits, and the Wetland Park for bird watching. Hong Kong International Airport has been expanding its facilities and been active in forming strategic alliance with some airports in China to strengthen further its position as a major hub for the region. These are all conducive to draw more overseas trade visitors to come to Hong Kong and ITE, according to TKS.
The next ITE will be held from June 9 to 12 this year. China National Tourism Administration (CNTA) and Hong Kong Tourism Board (HKTB) continue to support ITE and will organise pavilions there. The Travel Industry Council of Hong Kong (TIC) is also a long term supporter of ITE.