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Hong Kong Uses 7s To Revive Economy

Hong Kong rugby chiefs have welcomed the opportunity to put on a show in November, after the city’s finance minister said the government planned to host business leaders from around the world during this year’s sevens tournament. Speaking at a Redefining Hong Kong semi­nar organised by the Post, Financial Secre­tary Paul Chan Mo-po revealed plans to bring more than 100 finance leaders to the city as a way to revive its damaged reputation as an international business hub.
15 Apr 2022 06:15
Hong Kong Uses 7s To Revive Economy
Fiji Airways Fijian 7s officials and reps (from left) Willie Baleinabuli (official). Etu Tusitala (strength and conditioning coach) Ioane Raturaciri, Viliame Satala (assistant coach, Waisale Serevi, Ben Gollings (head coach), Elia Canakaivata, Josua Vakurinabili, Tevita Daugunu after the Singapore 7s win on April 10. Photo: World Rugby

Hong Kong rugby chiefs have welcomed the opportunity to put on a show in November, after the city’s finance minister said the government planned to host business leaders from around the world during this year’s sevens tournament.

Speaking at a Redefining Hong Kong semi­nar organised by the Post, Financial Secre­tary Paul Chan Mo-po revealed plans to bring more than 100 finance leaders to the city as a way to revive its damaged reputation as an international business hub.

 

The Cathay Pacific/HSBC Hong Kong Sev­ens has been delayed five times since the cor­onavirus pandemic first struck in 2020, but Chan confirmed it would take place between November 4 and 6.

The Fiji Airways Fijian 7s team are the de­fending Hong Kong champions and they have won it for the last five years in a row.

“The prospect of helping Hong Kong host a senior delegation of international busi­ness leaders during the Cathay Pacific/HSBC Hong Kong Sevens is exciting,” Robbie McRobbie, the Hong Kong Rugby Union CEO, said.

 

Connecting to international community

“Our slogan has always been that we are the event ‘where the world comes to play’. The HKRU would be thrilled to be the event that helps the world come ‘back’ to Hong Kong to work and play this November.”

McRobbie said the resumption of the Singa­pore 7s has made him “hopeful” that Novem­ber’s hosting of the 45th annual Hong Kong Sevens will proceed as planned.

While the city remains under some of the toughest COVID-19 restrictions in the world, with travellers having to quarantine for weeks on arrival, Chan said the hope was that travel with mainland China could re­sume in the second half of this year.

 

And officials are planning a high-level sum­mit to coincide with the rugby weekend, which has long been one of the highlights of the year.

Chan said reconnecting with the interna­tional community after years of travel bans and tight entry restrictions was “important”.

“The idea is to bring over 100 finance lead­ers to Hong Kong,” he added.

“We want to bring them over for them to see the situation for themselves, to bring about business and investment opportunities.”

 

Power of 7s rugby

After two years of losses and staffing cut­backs, which has seen the union shed nearly 50 per cent of its workforce and end its elite player programme, among other things, McRobbie is delighted at the prospect of a return to normal.

“The Sevens has helped put Hong Kong on the sporting map for over 45 years and is widely regarded as one of the world’s pre­mier corporate hospitality events, generat­ing jobs and hundreds of millions of dollars for the city every year,” he said.

 

“Given the rapid pace of vaccination in Hong Kong, we are confident that by work­ing diligently with World Rugby and relevant government authorities – and following the protocols in place at numerous professional sports events worldwide, we can host a fan­tastic event eight months from now.

“Hosting senior executives from the IOC at the Sevens was an instrumental part of get­ting rugby into the Olympics. We are confi­dent that the Hong Kong Sevens can be a similar catalyst for the business community.

 

“After all, Sevens weekend is an advertise­ment for Hong Kong like none other in the world.”

Traditionally held in April, the Hong Kong Sevens was most recently postponed last November because of the city’s approach to tackling COVID-19. McRobbie said the deci­sion was taken in the best interest of teams and fans.

 

Feedback: leonec@fijisun.com.fj



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