Long lines bring fair refundLocal | Eunice Lam and Erin Chan 27 Jul 2021
Organizers of the Animation-Comic-Game fair will arrange refunds for fans who failed to get into the fair's Wan Chai venue in a rare occurrence triggered by unexpectedly tightened restrictions.
The four-day fair, which ended yesterday at the Hong Kong Convention and Exhibition Center, had to restrict attendance to 50 percent from 75 percent following an abrupt government announcement on Wednesday.
Only when two thirds of attendees have received at least one vaccine dose can organizers use the venue's full capacity.
Organizers had to ditch their old non-refundable practice for tickets this year, citing "external factors."
"Visitors have been painfully queuing up outside the venue due to sudden changes in authorities' policies," they said in a statement yesterday.
"Having to queue for three to four hours is extremely not ideal and even inhumane It is reasonable for some visitors to give up queuing."
They said a counter offering refunds had been set up near the organizers' office, which would be in service from 2pm to 8pm. "We will refund physical tickets for those who failed to get into the venue," the organizers wrote.
Although the event's attendance was restricted to 50 percent instead of 85 percent like the book fair, Ani-Com organizers did not think the government was being biased. However, they slammed the administration for not allowing them to prepare for the reduced attendance in advance.
Organizers also thought the attendees' vaccination rate requirement was ridiculous as the city-wide vaccination rate had only reached 44 percent.
By 5.30 pm yesterday, the queue still snaked around the venue with its tail stretching to the Great Eagle Center.
Visitors were told that it could take them an hour to enter the venue.
Ng had her ticket refunded after queuing for two hours. "It was so hot and stuffy, and the queue was jam-packed," she said.
Tong, a 15-year-old student, said she queued for 50 minutes yesterday after failing to get into the venue on the first day.
"The crowd management is so bad," she said.
The anime fan was also disappointed that there were less anime-related booths this year.
Ho, project director of toy model seller "Model Car Mall," said his booth saw both customer flow and revenue drop 10 to 20 percent compared to 2019, but it was still within his expectations.
Winnie Suen Wing-yu, assistant marketing manager of toy model seller "Soap Studio" said her booth's revenue was lower than what she expected but it was still reasonable.