The 33rd Hong Kong Book Fair, which ran from July 19 to 25, recorded a staggering 990,000 visitors this year, a significant increase from the 770,000 visitors in 2022, and a return to pre-Covid levels.
According to the Hong Kong Trade and Development Council, attendees spent an average of HK$872 each at the joint event, which also included the Sports and Leisure Expo and the World of Snacks.
While book vendors recorded a modest rise in sales, some vendors expressed dissatisfaction with the organizers for deterring bargain hunters by axing lower entry fees at night.
In previous years, visitors could enter the fair for free during the day and pay a lower fee at night, but this year, the organizers introduced a flat fee of HK$100 for all visitors, regardless of the time of day.
Leopold Chen, a visitor to the fair, commented on the change in entry fees, saying, "I think it's a bit unfair to charge the same fee for day and night.
It's like they're forcing you to come during the day when it's crowded and hot, instead of letting you choose when you want to come." Despite the increase in visitors and vendors' modest rise in sales, the fair was not without its challenges.
The Hong Kong government's decision to close all commercial venues in the territory from July 23 to 27 due to a spike in COVID
-19 cases meant that the final day of the fair was cut short and many visitors were unable to attend.
In response to the closure, the Hong Kong Book Fair organizers issued a statement, saying, "We respect the government's decision to close commercial venues and will take necessary measures to ensure the safety of visitors and staff.
We hope that visitors will continue to support the fair and join us again in the future." The Hong Kong Book Fair is a significant event in the city's cultural calendar, and its return to pre-Covid
levels is a welcome sign that the public is once again willing to engage with cultural events.
However, it is clear that there are still challenges to be addressed, including the issue of entry fees and