Hong Kong to host Asia’s first Gay Games

Posted By on October 31, 2017

31 October 2017 – Hong Kong has beaten out two North American cities for the rights to host the Gay Games in 2022. It will be the first time the event has been held in Asia since its launch in 1982.

The successful bid “is testament to Hong Kong’s spirit and passion for increased inclusion and diversity,” Dennis Philipse, the chair of the Hong Kong bidding team, said in a statement today from Paris, where the announcement was made. “Bringing the Gay Games to Asia and Hong Kong as host proves the growth in openness in the city and across the region.”

The success of the bid was welcomed by rights groups, legislators and others as an important development in LGBT rights for the region, as well as being a boon for the local economy. The bid organizers expect the Games to draw 15,000 athletes and 25,000 spectators, adding 1 billion Hong Kong dollars ($128.2 million) to the city’s economy.

It is likely to be the biggest multisport event held in the city since it hosted the 2009 East Asian Games, which drew 2,377 athletes.

“This decision demonstrates how, as a major travel destination, Hong Kong is able to attract a rich diversity of events to the city,” said a Hong Kong Tourism Board spokesperson, in welcoming the announcement, adding that “the HKTB will provide support for the promotion of the events depending on their tourism value and the organizer’s needs.”

Hong Kong won its Gay Games bid over Guadalajara, Mexico and Washington. The event, held every four years, is open to all athletes regardless of sexual orientation. Next year’s Games will be held in Paris.

Legislator Regina Ip, head of the New People’s Party, said the bid victory was “well deserved” in a statement on her Facebook page and promised to push the government to prepare facilities and support for the event. Lau Ming-wai, the chairman of the government’s Commission on Youth as well as the chairman of developer Chinese Estates Holdings, has also publicly backed the bid.

The actual degree of government support for the event however is unclear. Pressed on the matter by a legislator in June, the city’s then-commerce secretary said the question would be considered by the city’s new administration which then took office the following month. The government spent HK$291.1 million for the East Asian Games.