What a fantastic experience the Tokyo Olympics has been for Hong Kong in particular! We generally don’t expect too many podium moments from the Games, so to bring home six medals from this most elite of sporting competitions is truly an exceptional achievement.
Hong Kong’s record medal haul has delivered a feel-good boost as we unite to celebrate the success of our homegrown athletes. Members of the younger generation have surely been inspired by their fellow citizens, and the city’s fencing schools have already seen a surge of interest following Edgar Cheung Ka-long’s win – the second ever gold medal for Hong Kong.
As the Games concluded, the Government announced an injection of extra cash for sports, including the construction of a new building at the Hong Kong Sports Institute. This will not only support elite athletes but also help make sports more accessible to the whole population.
In Hong Kong, the Games provided not only great excitement but have also helped to buoy the economy. Owners of major shopping malls in the city reported that footfall and sales jumped considerably while the Olympics were taking place. This did coincide with tills ringing as Hong Kong citizens started spending the first tranche of their electronic consumption vouchers.
Retail figures continue to improve in the city, with sales in the first half of 2021 up 8.4% compared to last year. Of course, this is off a low base and sales remain well below pre-pandemic levels. But things are, at least, moving in the right direction.
The GDP growth forecast for 2021 of 5.5 to 6.5%, released on 13 August, is notably higher than the 3.5% to 5.5% forecast in May, suggesting that our recovery is indeed gathering pace.
In other positive news, Hong Kong’s vaccination rate has reached the milestone of 60% of our population having received their first shot. The Government’s announcement that it will keep the Community Vaccination Centres open until the end of October and extending walk-up appointments to the over-60s should help more people to access the service.
Incentives like the HKGCC Lucky Draw have also helped to boost participation, and we hope this vaccination trend will continue and our city can look to more bright spots sooner rather than later. The Chamber’s fortnightly draws are set to run until 30 September, so if you’ve had both your shots, don’t forget to sign up and good luck!