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Transcript of remarks of press conference on "Hello Hong Kong" Campaign (with video)
     The Financial Secretary, Mr Paul Chan, hosted a press conference on the "Hello Hong Kong" Campaign this afternoon (February 2). Also joining were the Secretary for Culture, Sports and Tourism, Mr Kevin Yeung; the Secretary for Financial Services and the Treasury, Mr Christopher Hui; the Secretary for Commerce and Economic Development, Mr Algernon Yau; the Secretary for Innovation, Technology and Industry, Professor Sun Dong; the Director of Information Services, Mr Fletch Chan; the Executive Director of the Hong Kong Tourism Board, Mr Dane Cheng; and the Chief Executive Officer of the Airport Authority Hong Kong, Mr Fred Lam. Following is the transcript of remarks of the press conference:
Reporter: Is this "Hello Hong Kong" Campaign based on the studies and recommendations from the "Relaunch Hong Kong" Campaign which the Government commissioned the PR firm Consulum to do back in 2020 and 2021, which cost the Government more than $40 million? And this "Hello Hong Kong" Campaign, how much would it cost? Is there an estimate number that the Government can share with people? And also lastly, there are reports about reopening the Lo Wu border on the coming Monday. Is there any announcements that officials can now make? Thank you.
Financial Secretary: Thank you, if I may invite Mr Dane Cheng to answer the first question.
Executive Director of the Hong Kong Tourism Board: Thank you for your question. In the past some years, actually during the whole pandemic period, the Hong Kong Tourism Board, we have been monitoring how the other countries, when they resume travel or reopen their borders, so we have taken a lot of studies through our 16 offices overseas, as well as taking into account and references, including the report that the Government conducted before, on the "Relaunch Hong Kong".  
     But this particular "Hello Hong Kong" Campaign is developed by the Hong Kong Tourism Board, and we are planning to invest, in the initial stage, a minimum of $100 million, in the initial stage. The whole idea is that we want to reconnect and greet the world, in our initial stage. I think for the last some months and years, when we are reopening and resuming travel, we need to make it clear that we are now totally, fully, unconditionally reopening to our travellers, this is the way we want to go for.  
     In terms of how do we come up with "Hello Hong Kong", as I said before there is no proprietary, it is a very simple way to say hello to anyone, greetings from overseas to us, and for us to overseas. Similarly, we adopted the same concept for the Chinese version "你好,香港!"
Financial Secretary: We understand that the Lo Wu control point is very important for the people of Hong Kong and the Mainland to travel. We are working very hard with our counterparts and seek to reopen it as soon as practicable. Discussions are underway, with good progress. I am sure the Chief Secretary for Administration will make announcements in the earliest opportunity. Thank you.
Reporter: Because some of the tickets are reserved for Hong Kong people, so what is the aim for adding these tickets in this "Hello Hong Kong" Campaign? Is this also encouraging Hong Kong people to go out for travelling as well? Because some airlines said it's impossible to resume full passenger capacity this year, so can these airlines fulfil this demand for these 500 000 free air tickets? And, Financial Secretary, you mentioned about going global and also inviting leaders to come. So is there a priority in between the two? Like should officials go out to tell good stories first, or invite them and let them experience themselves? Thank you.
Financial Secretary: Thank you, if I may invite Mr Fred Lam to answer the first part of the question first.
Chief Executive Officer of the Airport Authority Hong Kong: Thank you, Financial Secretary. The tickets for Hong Kong citizens - we worked this out together with obviously the Hong Kong Government, the stakeholders and the Hong Kong Tourism Board. We feel that this is all part of the idea of "Hello Hong Kong" within Hong Kong. So we also feel that perhaps this is also a way to let Hong Kong people share the same joy that this campaign would bring about.
     We also obviously work very closely with the airlines. They are the ones to distribute the tickets, not us. So, airlines obviously will be able to work it out to make sure that they will have the capacity to meet the demand for these free tickets, and that's why we are also giving them a few months; they are not giving it away in a very short period of time. Six months - we feel that should be sufficient for them to be able to distribute those tickets in an orderly manner. A lot of these tickets will be distributed overseas. So this is also a very important way for the airlines to try to attract more tourists back to Hong Kong. At the moment, we can see that in the last few months, a lot of passengers are from within Hong Kong. So we hope these free tickets would help to also attract visitors to Hong Kong to try to rebalance the passenger flow.
Financial Secretary: We are eager to tell the world that Hong Kong has returned to normalcy, that we are back in business and we welcome tourists from all over the world. To this end, all the relevant government officials will proactively reach out to different markets, visit different countries to tell the world about actual situation in Hong Kong, let people know that in the new stage of development, what the new opportunities are, what advantages of Hong Kong are, and what business opportunities they can tap by coming here. At the same time, we want to invite people to come over.  As my colleagues rightly put it, "Seeing is believing". In fact, before the pandemic, every year we invited VIPs to come to Hong Kong, and these two initiatives - going out and inviting friends to come - are not mutually exclusive. We have to do them concurrently. This year, we plan to invite about 1 000 VIPs from overseas, not just business leaders but also political leaders, representatives from the media sector as well as think tanks. Thank you.

(Please also refer to the Chinese portion of the transcript.)
Ends/Thursday, February 2, 2023
Issued at HKT 20:34
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