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Hong Kong Leisure Marine Industry Hit Hard by COVID-19

by HKBIA 31 Mar 20:22 PDT
Hong Kong Boating Industry Association, Council 2019-2020 © Guy Nowell

Leisure Marine in Hong Kong is under an existential threat. Viewed for far too long as a luxury business undeserving of Government consideration, leisure marine has survived and thrived regardless. Today, boating, like any other service industry, employs a wide range of people and professionals, from the ex-fishermen who are now Captains and crew of yachts to the marine professionals who service and repair these craft.

A survey of Hong Kong's leisure marine businesses, members of the Hong Kong Boating Industry Association, the HKBIA, attracted a large and powerful response from the multifaceted membership, most of whom are SMEs.

Each of the 8 industry sectors reported severe impacts on their businesses:

63% of respondents reported a significant impact, and the remaining third reported a moderate effect.

67% have direct business with China, and 82% of those have seen significant drops in business.

75% report significant or moderate problems caused by the cancellation of local and international boating and sailing events. All companies reported much poorer performance, with a very worrying 25% reporting a drop of 50% or more in turnover. 42% report sales decreasing by 25-50%

Investment is down: 71% of companies will reduce or cancel investment for the next 6 months.

Job losses have begun, and more are inevitable. 21% of all firms have already laid-off staff. Another 50% expect to do so soon.

25% of businesses will not last 3 months and a third for only 3-6 months. 29% of members believe that Government assistance to date has been only slightly effective. 67% believe the assistance has been of no benefit at all. Over half the membership believes there should be wider relief measures for all businesses in the leisure marine market.

From the broker who sells boats and the instructor who teaches the youth of Hong Kong to sail to the insurer who underwrites the risks, the HKBIA represents them all. This relatively young Association has 42 members and represents one of the fast-growing work-force sectors in Hong Kong. As such it deserves the recognition of the Hong Kong Government, as Hong Kong is so much more than a shipping or fishing port these days.

Hong Kong's extraordinary Harbour is the beating heart of the city, and the leisure marine industry exists to grow and develop access to the harbour and Hong Kong's spectacular and undeveloped cruising waters. This industry needs support in these trying times, and HKBIA will be presenting the findings of our membership survey to the Government and will continue to press for significant help for our membership.

The Hong Kong Boating Industry Association (HKBIA). 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.

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