on 2 Apr 2020
Hong Kong Boating Industry Association survey of members highlights concerns of SMEs
The Hong Kong Boating Industry Association (HKBIA) survey of its 42 members highlights the severe impact of the coronavirus that causes the Covid-19 disease. Most of the HKBIA’s members are SMEs and 67% of the respondents say they employ fewer than 10 people.
Nearly two-thirds of respondents reported a significant impact. A majority of companies surveyed reported falls in revenue, and 75% of respondents reported problems related to the cancellation of yachting events. The recent announcement of a new Hong Kong yacht show to take place in November should provide relief for the industry.
Approximately two-thirds of respondents said that, so far, government assistance has been of no benefit, and over half said that there should be wider relief measures for businesses in the leisure marine market.
HK International Boat Show 2017 at Marina Cove. This year’s edition in April is cancelled. Photo: HKBIA
The HKBIA says it will present the findings of the survey released on April 1 to the Hong Kong Government, and will continue to press for help for its membership. The association noted that the leisure marine business in Hong Kong, which employs a wide range people, from former fishing boat Captains to professional services such as insurance and legal, has thrived despite relative indifference from the government. With nearly 10,000 registered pleasure vessels, Hong Kong has the largest leisure marine market in Asia apart from Japan.
“As an industry, we have to find ways to adapt to the fluid Covid-19 situation whilst keeping an eye on how we can get back to normal,” says Lawrence Chow, chairman of the HKBIA and whose father has been a yacht dealer in Hong Kong for over 25 years. Chow says he supports direct government financial support for the industry.
The HKBIA is a trade association that represents all sectors of the pleasure boat industry in Hong Kong, including boat builders, brokers, yacht management, charterers and distributors, chandlers, clubs, marinas, training organisations, sail-makers, technical and professional services and specialised marine media. The HKBIA was established in 2018 and is a member of the International Council of Marine Industry Associations (ICOMIA), an international forum that advocates on behalf of the boat and yachting industry.