A letter from HKBIA Chair Lawrence Chow urges more targeted support for businesses impacted by Covid restrictions
| 17 February 2021
The Hong Kong Boating Industry Association (HKBIA) has written to the HKSAR government, requesting financial support for the charter and media sector of the Hong Kong boating industry.
In a letter issued to Mr. Frank Chan, Secretary of Transport and Housing, HKBIA Chair Lawrence Chow highlighted the impacts of Covid-19 on certain sectors of the industry, and requested targeted support.
“Like many businesses in Hong Kong, many sectors of our industry have been impacted by the restrictions and economic downturn as a result of Covid-19. Retail, distributors and sail training organisations have all seen a big negative impact.
”However, certain sectors such as the Boat Charter and Boating Specialised Media have incurred even greater losses due to the required cessation of trading activities to comply with the government group gathering restrictions.
“Whilst we are grateful for the general relief measures that have been released so far, in particular, the Employment Support Scheme (ESS), there is still a need for more targeted support for sectors where businesses have been required to effectively cease operating to comply with restrictions.
”The Boat Charter and Boating Specialised Media sector were unable to operate for approximately half of the year in 2020 and this is currently ongoing. As you can imagine, this has had a devastating impact on their businesses.”
Along with the letter, Chow enclosed a report into the impacts that Covid-19 has had on the sectors in question, along with suggestions for relief measures that could prove effective.
In April 2020, HKBIA conducted a survey of its 42 members highlighting the severe impact of Covid-19. Most of the HKBIA’s members are SMEs, and 67% of the respondents said 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.
Approximately two-thirds of respondents said that, to that point, government assistance had been of no benefit, and over half said that there should be wider relief measures for businesses in the leisure marine market.