"Formulating sports policy and development blueprint over the coming decade" (2021/08/18)

"Formulating sports policy and development blueprint over the coming decade" (2021/08/18)

MR YIU SI-WING (in Cantonese):

Deputy President, the Hong Kong, China delegation achieved outstanding results in the Tokyo 2020 Olympic Games, arousing the public's concern about Hong Kong's athletes and major sports events. I am grateful to Mr Vincent CHENG for proposing the motion, which gives the Council and the Government an opportunity to review the current sports policy. We may also explore a new pathway for Hong Kong's participation in international sports events and, by drawing on the successful experience in this Olympic Games, draw up a blueprint for the sports policy of Hong Kong.


As early as in 2002, the Government put forth the proposal of promoting sports in the community, supporting elite sports and developing Hong Kong into a centre for major international sports events. It has been actively allocating resources, and has earmarked $60 billion to promote sports development since 2017. The relevant recurrent expenditure has amounted to $5 billion this year. Regarding the support for the development of elite sports, in addition to the Hong Kong Athletes Fund and the Arts and Sport Development Fund, the Government has set up the Elite Athletes Development Fund for providing training and comprehensive support for local athletes. We can see that the Government has strengthened its support for athletes and the sustainable development of sports.


The Chief Executive met with the media last Tuesday to announce a number of measures to sustain the development of sports in Hong Kong, including the professionalization and industrialization of sports in Hong Kong. Regarding professionalization, I can tell from the current commitment of the Government that there will be sustainable results. Yet, industrialization needs to be explored further. In his amendment, Mr MA Fung-kwok suggests studying the establishment of a "Culture, Sports and Tourism Bureau". If implemented, this would be conducive to the industrialization of sports. The Ministry of Culture and Tourism was established in the Mainland by way of consolidation in 2018, but some provincial and municipal authorities are still allowed to keep their Bureau of Culture, Sports and Tourism. I believe the Mainland authorities are also exploring the possibility of combining culture, sports and tourism to form an industry. Meanwhile, in Hong Kong, we do have a sound foundation in place for developing such an industry. Regarding hard infrastructure, a number of relevant major infrastructure facilities have been constructed or will be commissioned one after another in Hong Kong, including the Hong Kong-Zhuhai-Macao Bridge, Kai Tak Sports Park, West Kowloon Cultural District and Airport City. These facilities are conducive to promoting the development of tourism, culture and sports in Hong Kong. As for soft infrastructure, Hong Kong enjoys enormous advantages in the region in terms of geographical location, international influence, talents, etc. If the Government can establish a corresponding Policy Bureau to consolidate the relevant resources, this will definitely achieve a synergy effect and maximize the benefits.


In fact, sports alone have given rise to a huge industry chain and exerted considerable influence in Hong Kong. Hosting major sports events can boost such industries as tourism, hotel, retail and catering. Establishing a relevant Policy Bureau can help combine sports and tourism and boost local consumption. For example, Guangdong-Hong Kong-Macao Greater Bay Area ("GBA") international marathon or cycling races may be staged on the Hong Kong-Zhuhai-Macao Bridge, and major celebration events may be held in AsiaWorld-Expo. Besides, Kai Tak Sports Park will boast a 50 000-seat main stadium and a 10 000-seat indoor main arena, which may be used not only for international sports events, but also for concerts and various cultural and entertainment events. If these events can create an international branding impact, this will enhance Hong Kong's international image and provide new impetus for its economy and tourism industry.


Deputy President, although Hong Kong does not have a dedicated department for coordinating the policies related to culture, sports and tourism at the moment, since the Outline Development Plan for the Guangdong-Hong Kong-Macao Greater Bay Area indicates support for the Guangdong Province, Hong Kong and Macao to host internationally renowned sports events, the SAR Government should seize the opportunities brought by the development of GBA, and seek to gain more experience through enhanced collaboration with the Guangdong Province and Macao in hosting sports events in an endeavour to stage more major sports events in Hong Kong.


Deputy President, with these remarks, I support Mr Vincent CHENG's original motion and Mr MA Fung-kwok's amendment.