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Influencers invited to HK for tourism drive in 2023 raises cost concerns

Influencers invited to HK for tourism drive in 2023 raises cost concerns

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Hong Kong Tourism Board (HKTB)'s initiative to invite overseas influencers and celebrities to promote Hong Kong has raised concerns among lawmakers, regarding the economic benefits these celebrities could bring to the city.

Various lawmakers such as Chan Hoi Yan, Kenneth Fok have requested a breakdown of expenditure to be earmarked by the government for arranging familiarisation trips for key opinion leaders (KOLs), influencers, media and trade partners and inviting them to join the trips. They also questioned the economic benefits they could bring to the city. 

In a written response to lawmakers’ questions on Wednesday, Joe Wong, permanent secretary for culture, sports and tourism said the HKTB invited over 2,000 trade and media representatives, celebrities, influencers and super fans to the city last year to help promote local tourism. 

Moreover, the HKTB arranged tailor-made thematic itineraries for them, while they participated in producing more than 330 video clips featuring travel experiences in Hong Kong. The videos were broadcast in phases on more than 3k platforms worldwide, reaching over 200m viewers.

Celebrities such as Hollywood actor Henry Golding, Japanese actor Satoh Takeru (佐藤健), Korean actor Jeong Hae-in (丁海寅) and Malaysian actress Lin Minchen (林明禎) were also invited to shoot travel videos in Hong Kong. To promote the latest Hong Kong Sevens held from 5 to 7 April, the HKTB also invited the Weasley twins from the Harry Potter film to Hong Kong and introduced an array of global promotions.

When identifying the KOLs to be invited, HKTB will consider factors such as the size of their fanbase, social media posts engagement rate, his/her professional status and image, and whether they tie in with our target source markets and marketing strategies.

Meanwhile, the HKTB will ride on the network and influence of partnering media to showcase Hong Kong’s appeal to source markets, thereby attracting visitors to Hong Kong. It will also continue to invite trade and media representatives as well as KOLs with influence in different source markets to visit Hong Kong.

Since the aforesaid promotional initiatives have been subsumed under HKTB’s promotion efforts in various areas, Wong said it is difficult to quantify the relevant expenditures separately. "HKTB sets various indicators, such as the number of visitors to website, audience reach of social media and views of promotional videos, based on the nature of the aforesaid publicity and promotional work to assess its effectiveness."

The HKTB has invited KOLs and “Uploaders” with a large number of fans on social platforms such as Xiaohongshu, Douyin, Weibo, bilibili, to visit and experience Hong Kong through a tailor-made thematic itinerary, which included nature walks and aquatic activities, aiming to create word-of-mouth for Hong Kong’s tourism with their influence on the internet. 

Don't miss: HKTB invites mainland KOLs to HK every week to lure Chinese tourists

In terms of social media, the HKTB launched a dance challenge on TikTok as part of the “Hello Hong Kong” campaign. It attracted over 1.2 million video clips from netizens with 1.5 billion global viewership. According to the HKTB, the challenge has become TikTok’s promotional campaign with the highest traffic in the Southeast Asian market in the first quarter of 2023 and brought 300k new followers to HKTB’s official account, bringing the total followers to around 2 million.

The government revealed that in the coming year, the HKTB will anchor different events and festivals, and set out suitable themes for promotion, such as Chinese and Western arts, pop culture, marine experiences, wine and dine experiences and outdoor exploration, and develop various immersive videos and promotional contents with those themes, to cater to different visitor segments.

In terms of promotion, apart from outdoor advertising, social media marketing, partnership with celebrities and KOLs, HKTB will also roll out more immersive, in-depth tours with themes such as “Citywalk” through popular channels in the source markets based on the market situation. It will also soft-sell Hong Kong, focusing on activities popular in the young segment and other innovative content.

Moreover, the HKTB will launch a new campaign on story curation by inviting film and television production companies from key source markets, including the Mainland, Southeast Asia, the United States, Korea, Japan, Australia and the United Kingdom to make use of Hong Kong’s unique culture, gastronomy, outdoor activities and other experiences to curate good stories for Hong Kong in an innovative and professional perspective. 

Join us this coming 26 June for Content360 Hong Kong, a one-day-two-streams extravaganza under the theme of "Content that captivates". Get together with our fellow marketers to learn about AI in content creation, integration of content with commerce and cross-border targeting, and find the recipe for success within the content marketing world!

Related articles:

HKTB invites Weasley twins to explore HK and promote HK Sevens
HKTB promotes 'Arts in Hong Kong' in full force with year-round events

HKTB invites mainland KOLs to HK every week to lure Chinese tourists

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