LCQ18: Measures to attract travellers to Hong Kong
There are views that with the gradual resumption of traveller clearance between Hong Kong and overseas regions and the Mainland, the Government should actively introduce measures to attract travellers to come to Hong Kong. In this connection, will the Government inform this Council:
(1) of the respective strategies to attract travellers from the Mainland and overseas regions to come to Hong Kong;
(2) how it makes good use of entertainment, such as music, films and television dramas, as well as new media platforms, to enhance the soft promotion of Hong Kong's tourism features and showcase Hong Kong's unique experiences to the world; and
(3) given that a number of hospitality industries suffered manpower losses in the past three years, how the Government ensures that such industries have sufficient manpower to resume normal operation, including whether it will provide the operators concerned with subsidies for resuming business; if so, of the details; if not, the reasons for that?
In respect of the question raised by the Hon Rock Chen, the reply is as follows:
(1) The Culture, Sports and Tourism Bureau and the Hong Kong Tourism Board (HKTB) has already kick-started and stepped up promotions in various visitor source markets, including highlighting Hong Kong's iconic tourism appeal and new experiences, so as to broadcast the positive messages of welcoming visitors, and has been progressively inviting different groups of Mainland and overseas travel trade delegates, media organisations and KOLs to Hong Kong and take them around the city to enjoy Hong Kong's new attractions and experiences. For example, starting from mid-December last year, the HKTB has been resuming mega familiarisation trips to Hong Kong for trade members in various markets, and invited several international renowned celebrities to visit various attractions. Looking ahead, the HKTB will also initiate outreach promotions with local trade partners through active participation in large-scale global travel trade shows and events.
The HKTB is partnering with different sectors and merchants in the dining and retail sectors, airlines, hotels, attractions and travel agents to plan for a series of attractive offers to visitors, including welcome drinks, shopping vouchers, etc., to appeal to visitors and encourage their spending. Besides, the Airport Authority Hong Kong and airlines are finalising the details of the free air-ticket giveaway, which the HKTB and the travel trade will render full support in the promotions.
Meanwhile, the HKTB will organise and support the staging of world-class events in Hong Kong to provide visitors with new experiences and demonstrate Hong Kong's diverse appeal of East-meets-West. The HKTB will also step up efforts in promoting meetings, incentive travels, conventions and exhibitions (MICE) tourism to attract the return of high-end business travellers. Leveraging Hong Kong's geographical advantage of being well connected to the Mainland and overseas cities, the HKTB will strengthen its support for securing various MICE events to settle in or return to Hong Kong to attract high value-added overnight visitors to Hong Kong and re-establishing Hong Kong as the premier MICE destination in the region.
Moreover, the Government plans to launch a large-scale tourism promotions in February with more details to be announced later.
To prepare for the return of visitors, the Government has been tirelessly enriching the tourism resources in Hong Kong and enhancing the attractiveness of tourism attractions and facilities despite the pandemic. For example, Hong Kong Disneyland Resort has been actively taking forward its expansion plan; Ocean Park continues to strengthen its conservation and education work; Peak Tram has completed its upgrading plan and related works and reopened on August 27 last year; and Ngong Ping 360 launched its "Crystal+" cabin last December, allowing guests to enjoy 360-degree panoramic views. More tourism attractions and facilities will be rolled out to upgrade and enhance local tourism resources, and to nurture and develop tourism products and initiatives with characteristics. Besides, we have launched various cultural, heritage, creative and green tourism projects in recent years including the "Yim Tin Tsai Arts Festival", "Design District Hong Kong", "City in Time" and "Enhancement of Hiking Trails", and we are working at full steam to roll out their new phases. The Government has also launched the Cultural and Heritage Sites Local Tour Incentive Scheme to encourage the travel trade to develop more tourism products and itineraries comprising cultural and heritage elements, which includes cultural attractions such as M+, the Hong Kong Palace Museum, the refurbished Hong Kong Museum of Art, etc. to enhance the diversity and tourism appeal of tourism products and itineraries.
(2) Throughout the years, the HKTB constantly partners with various media organisations including renowned media organisations in the Mainland and international broadcast networks to present Hong Kong's tourism appeal to global audiences and attract them to come to Hong Kong. For instance, the HKTB co-produced with Discovery Channel the "Kung Food! Hong Kong's Grandmasters of Cuisines", which was broadcasted in many Asian markets, to introduce Hong Kong's delicacies to viewers. The HKTB also jointly promoted Hong Kong's pop music culture to Mainland audiences with TVB and China Hunan TV through a variety show "Infinity and Beyond". The recently aired travel documentaries "Guru Coffee Tour" and "Dai Pai Dong" were also media partnership ventures by the HKTB and TVB to promote the local culinary culture in source markets, covering the Oceanian, American, Southeast Asian and Mainland markets.
Moreover, the HKTB also promotes Hong Kong through various social media platforms, including YouTube, Facebook, Instagram, Weibo, WeChat, Douyin, etc. with engaging contents, amassing an audience with more than 10 million followers. In 2022, the HKTB's videos recorded a viewership of more than 200 million.
(3) During the pandemic, the Government has been actively equipping travel agents and practitioners of the tourism industry through various schemes and arrangements as well as provision of cash subsidy in order to prepare for the restart of tourism activities and to gradually restore various supporting facilities in Hong Kong for receiving tourists, thereby assisting the trade to ramp up its capabilities.
In the past three years, the Government introduced support measures with a commitment of over $4.48 billion to provide continuous support to the trade. Among them, to follow the policy direction of shaping tourism with cultural activities and promoting culture through tourism and to further prepare for the return of visitors, the Green Lifestyle Local Tour Incentive Scheme, the Cultural and Heritage Sites Local Tour Incentive Scheme and the Travel Agents Incentive Scheme support the travel trade in retaining operational manpower on the one hand, while incentivising the trade to develop and launch more tourism itineraries and products with cultural, heritage and green elements on the other hand, thereby supporting the trade to resume business in a gradual manner. These subsidy schemes will continue. On the other hand, the travel trade is also benefited from the two rounds of Employment Support Scheme and waiver on related licenses' fee.
Regarding the promotion of manpower training, the Government has engaged the Travel Industry Authority to implement the Training Subsidy Scheme for Practitioners of the Travel Industry with a commitment of $60 million for three years starting from last November in a bid to enhance the professional standards and service quality of the trade so as to prepare for the restart of tourism activities.
The Government will keep in view the manpower provision in the travel trade and continue to adopt a multi-pronged approach to assist the tourism industry to recover in an orderly manner. We will closely monitor the effectiveness of various measures and maintain communication with the trade. It is expected that with the restart of tourism activities, travel agents and practitioners of the tourism industry will come back to the trade gradually.
Ends/Wednesday, January 18, 2023
Issued at HKT 14:30
Issued at HKT 14:30