This is not the only event that has turned into a PR crisis for the Hong Kong government. The city held the FIA World Rallycross Championship for the first time in November 2023. Though the race is not at the same level of Formula 1, it received much hype because the race track was next to Victoria Harbour.

Unfortunately, the event was delayed on its first day as the organisers experienced construction difficulties. The track  was also shortened by one-third, making it the shortest leg in the Championship’s season.

THE ABILITY TO ORGANISE MEGA EVENTS

These disappointments make some locals wonder if Hong Kong has lost the ability to organise mega events. There are similarities between the race and the friendly football match – neither organiser had prior experience running events of that scale. Despite that, the government promised to grant them subsidies and left it up to the organisers to pull the event off.

The poor monitoring was shown in the post-match response, in which the government did not have much information about the contract and negotiations between the organiser and Inter Miami.

The government says that Hong Kong will see over 80 mega events in the first six months of 2024. Indeed, not all of them will be chaotic. Still, will events resuscitate Hong Kong’s embattled tourism sector?

Take UK designer Anya Hindmarch’s Chubby Hearts art installation in Hong Kong as an example. Funding for the art installation, which saw large heart-shaped balloons pop up in several spots across the city, totalled HK$7.8 million.

The art installation took place across 11 days, starting from Valentine’s Day, and attracted decent feedback with photos on social media.

But is it enough to attract tourists to Hong Kong? Probably not.

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