The Gay Games, scheduled for next November, will be postponed by one year due to the ongoing travel restrictions amid the pandemic, organizers announced yesterday.
The event, originally scheduled to be held from next November 11 to 19, was expected to attract 12,000 participants and 75,000 spectators from 100 countries, as well as generate over HK$1 billion in revenue for the city's battered hospitality and retail sector. It had confirmed 1,540 pre-registrations so far.
In a statement yesterday, co-organizer Gay Games 11 Hong Kong 2022 said the exact date of the event in 2023 would be announced shortly after consulting co-organizer Federation of Gay Games.
Dennis Philipse, co-chair of the Games, said it was hard for the event to go on as scheduled, "with many parts of the world, including many [countries] across Asia, still struggling to contain the virus and facing uneven access to vaccines
The postponement would also give them enough time to come up with a training schedule for the event, he said.
He said some lawmakers had attempted to "politicize" the event, which in turn drew overwhelming support from Chief Executive Carrie Lam Cheng Yuet-ngor, other lawmakers, the public and the business sector.
New People's Party lawmaker Regina Ip Lau Shuk-yee said yesterday the event's importance to the city's "forward-looking" and "cosmopolitan" image should not be underestimated.
However, other pro-establishment lawmakers have denounced the event for promoting same-sex marriage - including Junius Ho Kwan-yiu, who branded it as "a wolf in sheep's skin," describing it as "disgraceful" in the Legislative Council earlier.
Allan Zeman, Lan Kwai Fong Group chairman, believes the worldwide audience will still enjoy the postponed event just as it savored the postponed Tokyo Olympics and Paralympics.