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Tourism Management 21 (2000) 643}648

Research Note

The comparative analysis of Hong Kong as an international conference destination in Southeast Asia Hailin Qu *, Lan Li , Gilder Kei Tat Chu
School of Hotel and Restaurant Administration, College of Human Environmental Science, Oklahoma State University, Stillwater, CA 74078, USA School of Family, Consumer and Nutrition Science, Northern Illinois University, DeKalb, IL 60115, USA Department of Hotel and Tourism Management, The Hong Kong Polytechnic University, Hong Kong

Abstract The purpose of this study was to analyze the competitiveness of Hong Kong as an international conference destination in Southeast Asia. Survey questionnaires were sent to the conference end-users, organizers, and venues in Hong Kong and Singapore to study the limitation of holding a large conference in Hong Kong, and the importance and satisfaction of site selection criteria for holding conferences in Hong Kong and Singapore. The pair mean t test was used to compare satisfaction di!erences on the selection criteria in Hong Kong and Singapore. The ANOVA analysis was conducted to identify the selection criteria perceived di!erently by end-users, organizers and venues. The "nding showed that Hong Kong was perceived as less competitive than Singapore as an international conference destination. The study suggested that Hong Kong must overcome its weaknesses and develop competitive advantages to maintain itself as an ideal international conference destination in Southeast Asia. 2000 Elsevier Science Ltd. All rights reserved. Keywords: Convention; Conference; Meeting; Hong Kong; Singapore; Comparative

1. Introduction The Hong Kong Convention and Incentive Travel Bureau (HKCITB), a division of the Hong Kong Tourist Association (HKTA), was created in 1986 to promote conference tourism in Hong Kong. Due to good geographical location, a well-developed infrastructure system, an increasing supply of hotel rooms with wellequipped conference facilities, and the establishment of the Hong Kong Convention and Exhibition Center and other large conference venues, conference tourism in Hong Kong has developed rapidly since the early 1980s. In 1996, 3030 events including conferences, meetings and incentive travel were held in Hong Kong, an increase of 11.12 times over 1986. This attracted a total of 355,982 visitors in Hong Kong, 4.6 times more than 11 years ago (Hong Kong Tourist Association, 1996). From 1986 to 1996, the average annual growth rate of events and visitors increased from 25.5 to 17 per cent. Although Hong Kong seems to have more to o!er as a convention destination than its regional competitors, it * Corresponding author. Tel.: #1-405-744-8466. E-mail addresses: qhailin@okstate.edu (H. Qu), r20lll1@corn.cso. niu.edu (L. Li).

still needs to overcome some problems before becoming the leading convention city in Southeast Asia. The "rst problem is space availability (Hill, 1994). As large conferences often include both the plenary and workshop sessions, there are insu$cient venues in Hong Kong for holding both the plenary and workshop sessions for large conferences. Second, the escalating hotel room rate and the increasing number of hotels demolished for business and commercial complexes, together with the competitive rate o!ered by other countries threatens the position of Hong Kong for holding conferences (Lyons, 1994; Chan, 1994). On July 1, 1997, Hong Kong was returned to China after being a British colony for more than a hundred years. The Chinese government intends to keep Hong Kong's current status as a world business and "nancial center. Hong Kong will continue to promote itself as a conference destination. However, the competition is more intensive now in Southeast Asia, neighboring countries such as Singapore, Japan, South Korea, Malaysia, and Thailand continuously put a variety of conference venues and facilities on the market (Carben, 1991). The major and direct competitor of the...
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