Hong Kong’s self-isolation has cost the city a major international wine fair, as Vinexposium, the organizer of the world’s leading wine and spirits fair Vinexpo, confirmed that it’s relocating its Asia exhibition from Hong Kong to Singapore in 2023.
The news was first reported by Vitisphere and confirmed by Vinexposium to Vino Joy News.
This would cap an end of an era when Hong Kong was considered the indisputable wine hub for Asia. Vinexpo first debuted in Hong Kong in 1998 and has since grown to become the city’s flagship biennial international wine and spirits fair in Asia, especially after Hong Kong removed wine tariffs in 2008.
The newly branded and inaugural Vinexpo Asia will be held on 23-25 May 2023 at Singapore’s Marina Bay Sands.
“Singapore is a strategic choice because it is a strategic place located at a crossroads between several key markets. We are looking forward to our return in APAC as this was a demand from our clients,” Vinexpo responded to us in an email when asked about the move.
The fair is expecting around 1000-1200 international exhibitors and 9,000 professional visitors.
The relocation from Hong Kong signals the city’s role as a wine hub is threatened by the city’s dogged adherence to travel restrictions and quarantine requirements that have shut out the once jet-setting, Hong Kong-bound winery owners, winemakers, importers and distributors.
The city’s more than two-year long travel restrictions have resulted in costly economic damages and pushed international companies, talents and large-scale trade events to move away from Hong Kong.
Vinexpo has become a regular biennial trade event in the city since 2004. But it has been on hold due to the prolonged pandemic and Hong Kong’s strict travel restrictions that would impose up to 21 days of quarantine in hotel.
But two years into the pandemic, Hong Kong showed no sign of removing travel restrictions, forcing Vinexposium to again scrap its 2022 edition. At the time when the organizer announced the news, it explained the decision was made to make way for its Vinexpo China edition in China’s southern metropolis Shenzhen.
However, with China’s unyielding ‘Covid-zero policy’, the Shenzhen edition which is set for October 31 to November 2 this year also looks ill-fated.