We can cope with tastings ban at Food Expo: vendors - RTHK
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We can cope with tastings ban at Food Expo: vendors

2021-08-11 HKT 17:37
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  • We can cope with tastings ban at Food Expo: vendors
Wong Yin-ting reports
Exhibitors at the Food Expo said on Wednesday that they will adapt to a ban on sample tastings at this year’s event, but are expecting sales to suffer.

The Hong Kong Trade Development Council (HKTDC) announced the restriction last week that bans eating and drinking at the Convention and Exhibition Centre, to prevent any risks associated with Covid-19.

The annual event opens its doors on Thursday and runs until Monday. Last year’s expo was cancelled because of the pandemic.

Visitors this year will need to wear face masks, and either use the government’s “LeaveHomeSafe” app or note down their details before entering the venue.

Hugo, a Belgian vendor who will sell cheese and vegan chocolate at this year’s expo, said the ban on tastings will undoubtedly make a big difference.

"People like to taste and it's normal that you like to taste what you buy. So it really affects the business," he said.

"The health situation is more important than the temporary situation."

But he said even though he expects the restrictions to affect his bottom line, the expo remains an opportunity for exposure.

"They cannot taste but they can still try to see the quality and listen to the people who give the explanation of what it is... If they like it, they will go back to the shops and buy it."

Another vendor, surnamed Chan, said they expect their revenue will drop by half, compared to their last expo experience.

"We have reduced the product's price, and we hope customers will find it attractive,” he said.

Byron Lee, HKTDC's Senior Exhibitions Manager, said he is hopeful customers will also adapt.

"I think a lot of exhibitors are quite used to the fact that they have to use their selling skills and the aroma and odors to attract their customers instead of really giving them sample tasting," he said.

"They will use a lot of these tactics in the new normal, and hopefully our consumers, shoppers, the visitors will get used to this."

Infectious disease expert Leung Chi-chiu said it might be hard to ensure visitors were following the virus control measures during the event.

He suggested making appointments ahead of entering and crowd control measures to minimise the risk of the virus spreading.