Despite an increasingly uncertain economic outlook, the tourism sector will get an additional HK$380 million to fix Hong Kong’s image as a safe city to travel, while more than $200 million will go to the Hong Kong Tourism Board.
Financial secretary John Tsang said in the 2016-17 budget speech that a focus on short, medium and long-term packages will help to combat the flagging tourism trade. He said the industry had a challenging year in 2015 and warned that the sector had entered a period of consolidation.
“In view of the changing mix and spending pattern of visitors, we need to review the development strategy of our tourism industry,” he said.
The government will allocate more than $200 million towards the HKTB to step up its marketing efforts, a significant boost from last year’s $80 million.
Through the HKTB, he said the organisation will assist the industry to open up new visitor sources through various means, including implementation of the matching fund for promoting tourist attractions, promotion of shopping and spending, promotion of MICE tourism and “fly-cruise” tours, as well as waiving of local traders’ participation fees for overseas promotion fairs.
About $100 million will be used to “repackage Hong Kong’s tourism image” with new promotional videos.
Peter Lam, chairman of the HKTB, welcomed the additional funding.
“We appreciate the support from the government on tourism promotion. The HKTB plans to use the additional funding to elevate the marketing initiatives stated in our proposed 2016-17 work plan. We will also cooperate with travel and related trade in driving further development of the industry.”
He said the HKTB will discuss with the government and devise a plan to expand the scale of major events, repackage Hong Kong’s image and continue to promote Hong Kong’s natural scenery as well as its unique history and culture.