The Hong Kong Tourism Board (HKTB) announced today the cancellation of this year’s Hong Kong Wine & Dine Festival, which was originally scheduled from October 31 to November 3, amid escalating anti-government protests that have entered its fifth month.
In the same announcement, the government also cancelled Hong Kong Cyclothon (13 October 2019).
HKTB Chairman Dr YK Pang said, “The decision to cancel the Hong Kong Cyclothon and the Hong Kong Wine & Dine Festival was certainly not an easy one. The two events enjoy huge popularity among local residents and visitors, and great support from local and international partners, sponsors and exhibitors.
“However, in view of unforeseen circumstances in the coming weeks, it would be challenging to us to ensure the smooth running of the two events, so we have decided to cancel both of the mega events.”
The Hong Kong Wine & Dine Festival was first launched in 2009 shortly after the city eliminated wine tax and has since grown to become a flagship consumer wine event in the city. The gourmet event last year attracted over 140,000 visitors.
The Hong Kong version was inspired by Bordeaux Wine Festival, and last year the Hong Kong government and Bordeaux signed a Memorandum of Understanding to promote wine and tourism between the two cities, among which the Wine & Dine Festival was a key event on the agenda.
The much-anticipated event was originally planned in Central Harbourfront in Central, an area that has seen large-scale protests in recent months.
The monthslong protests have led to a few large-scale event cancellations from concerts to wellness summit.
During the 2014 Umbrella Movement, the Wine & Dine Festival at the time was moved to less crowded the Kai Tak Cruise Terminal in Kowloon.
Given the large number of participants of the event, in case of any conflicts in the vicinity, it would be difficult to ensure all the participants could leave the venue safely within a short time, the organizer explains on the cancellation.
According to the HKTB, all exhibitors of the Hong Kong Wine & Dine Festival will be refunded in full and will enjoy a 20% discount on the participation fee for next year’s event.