Violent clashes between demonstrators and riot police on the streets of Hong Kong have led to the cancellation of some events and forums. There have been flight disruptions from Hong Kong International Airport, the fourth-busiest airport in Asia by total passengers annually. BlackRock, the world’s largest asset manager has postponed its Asia Media Forum which was scheduled for the beginning of September.
“We are adjusting the schedule so that as many partners as possible from across Asia are able to join,” the company stated, without mentioning the protests as the reason for postponing. The Asia Media Forum is now set for February 2020.
Capcom has also decided to cancel the CPT Premier Event at Esports Festival Hong Kong. In a statement, the Japanese video game developer and publisher said it “takes the safety of our players and community very seriously. Given the civic unrest that is currently taking place in Hong Kong, we have decided to remove Esports Festival Hong Kong from this year’s Capcom Pro Tour.”
Capcom added that this was “done solely to help keep our community and players out of potential harm.”
Stuart Bailey, the Hong Kong Exhibition and Convention Industry Association’s chairman had warned that the second half of the year could be more challenging for its members.
“As to when it [the protests] will end, the situation remains fluid and whilst the major demonstrations could all peter out in the coming days the underlying sentiment will likely take more time, particularly if there is no affirmative action to address some of the legitimate concerns.”
The protests, now in their second month, were held to raise concerns over an extradition bill that would allow criminal suspects to be extradited to mainland China. The demonstrations have become more violent, with police using rubber bullets and tear gas on protestors.
Cathay Pacific stated that there was a double-digit drop in advance sales for travel to Hong Kong in the coming months because of the civil unrest. Intercontinental Hotels Group said its revenue per available room in Hong Kong was down in the second quarter because of the situation, according to a South China Morning Post report.
Monica Lee-Müller, managing director of Hong Kong Convention and Exhibition Centre (Management) Limited (HML), was keen to reassure visitors. A press statement admitted that although there have been road closures nearby the HKCEC during several public activities since June, the HKCEC remained accessible by foot, private cars, freight trucks and public transportation.
“Safety of visitors and staff members has always been HML’s top priority. We have a set of emergency preparedness plans and are ready to activate in response to different scenarios,” Lee-Müller commented.
Major events such as the Hong Kong Book Fair which attracted almost one million attendees, were held in July without interruption.