Following is the speech (translation) given by the Financial Secretary, Mr Antony Leung, at the press conference on "International Co-operation for Tourism Development - Revitalizing Asian Tourism" today (June 26):
Secretary-General Long and media colleagues,
Today I am delighted to announce the details about the "Revitalizing Asian Tourism" Conference to be held on 14 and 15 July in Hong Kong.
Since the lifting of travel advisory against Hong Kong by the World Health Organization (WHO) and the US Centres of Disease Control and Prevention in late May and early June, we have entered the Reassurance Stage in our Economic Relaunch Plan. Over the past month, we have worked hard to ensure that overseas countries and the Mainland are well informed about the up-to-date situation in Hong Kong, that SARS is under control and our daily life and economic activities have returned to normal.
The removal of Hong Kong from the list of SARS affected areas by WHO a few days ago signifies that Hong Kong is now proceeding into the Recovery Stage. We are ready to proceed full steam to relaunch our economy. The Economic Relaunch Strategy Group that I head sets out three objectives regarding the relaunch campaign -
- Promoting local and international confidence in Hong Kong
- Promoting business and local consumption
- Attracting international business
As the tourism sector is one of the major economic pillars of Hong Kong and has been hardest hit by the effects of SARS crisis, reviving the tourism industry is therefore doubly important. The "Revitalizing Asian Tourism" Conference jointly organized by BoAo Forum and the World Tourism Organization would further promote our tourism revival programme.
We are honoured and delighted to be the host city of the Conference, which demonstrates our prominence and importance in the community. As Secretary-General Long mentioned just now, there will be delegates from a number of Asian countries, including senior government officials, taking part in the Conference. We are very honoured to be the host city to receive them. They will experience for themselves that Hong Kong is a safe destination. Hong Kong has a world-class international airport, first rate conference venue and facilities and the finest hotels. We will provide our guests a pleasant and memorable stay here which will go a long way to rebuilding worldwide confidence in Hong Kong.
Being the host, we will be responsible for the organization and arrangement of the Conference, registration, reception, media centre arrangements, welcome dinner and entertainment programmes, etc. We believe that the Conference will arouse international and media interest and create positive publicity and promotion for Hong Kong.
The Conference is certainly an important occasion for the tourism sector this year. It is particularly meaningful for us as the inaugural event for our global tourism revival programme. We would like to take this opportunity to demonstrate our achievement in combating SARS, and showcase Hong Kong as a premier tourism destination. Following this Conference, the Government and the Hong Kong Tourism Board will continue to organize a series of mega events and activities to attract tourists.
I believe that our community will join me in welcoming our guests to this Conference and work together to revitalize the tourism industry of Asia.
End/Thursday, June 26, 2003