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HK$100m in promotion dollars set aside to lure Chinese tourists into HK

HK$100m in promotion dollars set aside to lure Chinese tourists into HK

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The Hong Kong Tourism Board (HKTB) will focus on promoting Hong Kong to consumers in China this year as an internal survey found that Chinese visitors are likely to choose Hong Kong as their top destination in Asia. The board has also committed at least HK$100 million (US$12.77 million) to promote the city in China.

According to multiple reports including The Standard and HK01, HKTB's executive director Dane Cheng said in a Legislative Council panel meeting that about 50% of Chinese respondents would visit Hong Kong as their top destination in Asia, according to an internal survey conducted in Q4 2021, covering 13,000 respondents in 16 markets. The Chinese respondents said health and safety, convenient transportation, and value for money were the reasons for choosing Hong Kong as their preferred travel destination.

In response to the demand from Chinese visitors, Cheng said the HKTB will focus on promoting Hong Kong in China with a commitment of at least HK$100 million. He added that Hong Kong's tourism industry among Chinese visitors has changed a lot in recent years.

The HKTB recently received an additional HK$600 million in funding from the government, adding to the budget of HK$1.35 billion this year. It said it will focus on reviving the city's tourism industry and celebrate the 25th anniversary of the city’s handover to China. It predicted that there will be significant growth in the number of arrivals in H2 2022, reaching 9.6 million inbound travellers from China to the rest of the world.

During the meeting, transport sector lawmaker Frankie Yick also questioned the development of the cruise industry. In early March, Genting Hong Kong's brand Dream Cruises said it would cease the operation of its World Dream vessel as it “had become impossible” for the brand to continue due to financial restraints. According to the company, despite the continued efforts to source and introduce external funding, the group’s liquidity continued to deteriorate. Genting Hong Kong said this was due to the “absence of sustainable operational income under the current challenging circumstance and in the face of mounting creditor pressure”. Another cruise operator Royal Caribbean also moved its cruise ship stationed in Hong Kong to Singapore due to the city's stringent pandemic control measures.

In response to Yick's question, secretary for commerce and economic development Edward Yau said the government would only launch “cruise-to-nowhere” services, meaning sailing to international waters that do not involve ports outside Hong Kong.

Previously, Cheng also said it would be difficult to determine when quarantine-free travel with China and other countries would be restored. He added that it would be good for the government to have a plan to reopen the city internally and reconnect with the rest of the world. However, he added that the HKTB will keep promoting Hong Kong to foreign visitors, reminding them that Hong Kong is a tourism city.

(Photo courtesy: 123rf)

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