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Financial Secretary


Taste the Joy  Share the Fun

The first “Happy Hong Kong” Gourmet Marketplace kicked off yesterday! Big thanks to all partner organisations for their strong support and to members of the public for their active participation.

The “Happy Hong Kong” activities officially started yesterday! The first Gourmet Marketplace was held at the Hong Kong Convention and Exhibition Centre in Wan Chai for two consecutive days starting from yesterday. There were more than 100 booths featuring Chinese cuisines, local flavours as well as global wines and delicacies. While enjoying good food, members of the public also took pictures at various photo spots of the marketplace. I joined in the fun yesterday, trying my hand at making Hong Kong-style milk tea and egg puffs as well as buying some food with my consumption voucher. I fully enjoyed myself in the pleasant atmosphere of the marketplace.

Happiness can indeed be as simple as sharing with friends and families new and joyful experiences as well as delicious food. Savouring local delicacies when travelling abroad always brings us fond memories. The “Happy Hong Kong” Gourmet Marketplaces, featuring delicacies from different places, offer members of the public the opportunity to enjoy the same happiness while staying in the city. The next marketplace following this one will take place at the Sha Tin Town Hall and Sha Tin Park in the coming weekend (6-7 May), while another one in Kowloon will be held at the Kwun Tong Promenade on the first weekend of June. In addition to the large-scale Gourmet Marketplaces on the Hong Kong Island, in Kowloon and the New Territories, we will also organise thematic food fairs in Wong Tai Sin, Tsim Sha Tsui, Yuen Long and Mong Kok in the coming months.

Just as the slogan of the "Happy Hong Kong" Campaign - “Taste the Joy Share the Fun”, a wealth of events will come one after another apart from the first Gourmet Marketplace and the Cinema Day which rolled out yesterday. The Ocean Park Corporation; Cyberport; Hong Kong Science and Technology Parks Corporation; Agriculture, Fisheries and Conservation Department, the Vocational Training Council; MTR Corporation Limited, etc. will also host a range of events. The Harbour Chill Carnival to be hosted by the Hong Kong Tourism Board on the Wan Chai Promenade during the summer holidays will definitely be one of the highlights. Members of the public can visit the thematic website of the "Happy Hong Kong" Campaign for the latest event updates. Do join these events with family and friends to create happy memories.

In just two months after the announcement of the Budget in late February, we disbursed a new round of consumption vouchers in mid-April, and the "Happy Hong Kong" events also commenced yesterday. I would like to express my deep gratitude to colleagues of various government departments for their efficient work; appreciation is also given to the contribution by various participating organisations. The original thought of organising the "Happy Hong Kong" Campaign events was to weave more happy moments for the public at the time of economic recovery. I am grateful for the support and active participation by members of the public.

Be happy and stay positive; together, we become stronger.

Delighted to see happy faces of exhibitors and visitors at the Gourmet Marketplace.
Delighted to see happy faces of exhibitors and visitors at the Gourmet Marketplace.

The positive and optimistic atmosphere is in fact beneficial for consumption and the economy. Hong Kong’s retail sales value has risen for three consecutive months (December 2022 to February 2023), and the sales value has returned to a level above $30 billion. Since the full resumption of convenient travel between Hong Kong and other places in early February, visitor arrivals have gradually increased, and local consumption sentiment has improved further. These factors have led to a significant improvement in overall private consumption performance, offsetting the impact of continued weak exports and becoming a main driving force behind the improvement of the economy in the first quarter. These positive factors will be reflected in the first quarter economic figures and retail sales data to be released this week.

As for the consumption vouchers issued in mid-April and the recently launched series of activities under the “Happy Hong Kong” campaign, we hope they would not only make our residents happy, but also help consolidate economic recovery in the second quarter as well as positive market expectations. As Hong Kong is a small, fully-open economy, its export performance is largely affected by the external environment. Local consumption is an area that we can take steps to stabilise. As in the past few years when the economy faced tough challenges, a series of counter-cyclical measures also played the same role: to utilise fiscal policies to support the domestic economy and reinforce confidence.

2023 is a year when we have overcome the epidemic and will achieve economic recovery. We have adopted a slightly expansionary fiscal policy to maintain fiscal stability and sustainability. However, at the initial stage of economic recovery, we dare not lower our guard, and will be proactive in boosting the market’s confidence and the public’s expectation of economic recovery to the best of our ability, through different types of measures and activities. Tomorrow is the Labour Day holiday. I wish you all a relaxing and happy long weekend.

April 30, 2023

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