HONG KONG — The Hong Kong Tourism Board (HKTB) held its annual Tourism Update event online and announced a revival plan that highlights Hong Kong’s vibrant developments and new experiences, aiming to generate a positive ambience and make the city top-of-mind destination for worldwide travellers when travel resumes.
With the theme “Together Towards New Horizons”, Tourism Update 2022 attracted 3,200 trade representatives from travel agencies, attractions, hotels, airlines, retailers, restaurants, and meeting and exhibition organisers from Hong Kong, Mainland China, and overseas markets. The HKTB shared insights into the latest tourism trends and its work plan for the coming year.
In his opening remarks, HKTB Chairman Dr Y K Pang highlighted Hong Kong’s return to normality. “The fifth wave of the pandemic is subsiding,” he said. “Hong Kong’s daily life and economic activities are now gradually returning to normal, allowing us to stage large-scale events and prepare to welcome back visitors.
“Throughout the pandemic, Hong Kong never stopped building and upgrading its tourism infrastructure. We will see the grand opening of the Hong Kong Palace Museum this summer, while the third runway at Hong Kong International Airport is expected to go into service within the next couple of years. With these new infrastructure elements and the support of the Central and Hong Kong SAR Governments, Hong Kong’s competitive edge has held firm and we can head towards new horizons with confidence.”
In his presentation of the work plan for the coming year, HKTB Executive Director Dane Cheng described how the HKTB will focus first on generating a positive ambience in the city, stimulating consumption, and maintaining Hong Kong’s profile globally by launching “Hong Kong Summer Treats”. The campaign will provide a wide range of discounts and promotional offerings and will begin with “Arts in Hong Kong” – a campaign that supports international art and cultural events, such as Art Basel, which will return in a physical format.
When social distancing measures are further relaxed, the HKTB will arrange more world-class events in phases, including the Hong Kong Wine & Dine Festival and Hong Kong WinterFest, and give its support to other high-profile events such as the Hong Kong Sevens.
Cheng stressed the importance of ensuring a recovery at home in the run-up to the return of worldwide visitors. “These promotions will generate a positive ambience in Hong Kong and demonstrate how we have returned to normal. The HKTB will then launch extensive promotions, including the tactical ‘Open House Hong Kong’ campaign, to welcome back visitors when the time is right. To better respond to market needs, we will also strive to enhance the visitor journey into a seamless experience through a comprehensive digital transformation.”
He revealed: “The HKTB has conducted extensive research in 16 markets and found Hong Kong is still well-loved by travellers worldwide. They have specifically identified some major driving factors to visit Hong Kong, including cleanliness, local culture, in-depth experiences, unique cuisine, high accessibility, and ease of communications. These factors are not only core strengths of Hong Kong but also match the trends and tastes of the post-COVID travel era.
“With our solid tourism foundations, our status as an East-meets-West centre for international cultural exchange, our position at the heart of the dynamic Greater Bay Area, and our wealth of new tourism assets and infrastructure, Hong Kong’s tourism future is full of potential.”
Guest speakers from major organisations also outlined new developments to further enhance Hong Kong’s world-class tourism infrastructure.
The West Kowloon Cultural District is one of Hong Kong’s major arts and cultural projects. Its contemporary art museum M+ opened last year and the Hong Kong Palace Museum will welcome its first visitors this summer. Speaking at the event, Chief Executive Officer of the West Kowloon Cultural District Mrs Betty Fung said: “As a unique cultural hub with unrivalled connectivity in Hong Kong and Asia, WKCD presents the best of the eastern and western culture to visitors, from Chinese arts and antiquities to contemporary visual culture, and offers visitors a holistic experience blending arts and culture with retail, dining and entertainment.”
Hong Kong International Airport plays a pivotal role in maintaining the city’s status as a leading international aviation hub. Airport Authority Hong Kong Executive Director (Airport Operations) Mrs Vivian Cheung said: “In addition to maintaining our aviation hub status, our strategy is to transform Hong Kong International Airport from a city airport into an Airport City, developing ourselves into a destination in itself for visitors. The Airport City aims to attract global visitors through its wide range of offerings in retail, dining, entertainment and leisure, while providing a business platform through its convention and exhibition facilities. In parallel we are further enhancing the airport’s sea and land connectivity with the Guangdong-Hong Kong-Macao Greater Bay Area, with a view to facilitating a seamless journey for the 70 million people in the region to visit the Airport City.”
The integration of culture, sports, and tourism is a key development direction. Director (Commercial) of Kai Tak Sports Park Mr James Irvine said: “As one of the most significant sports infrastructures in Hong Kong, Kai Tak Sports Park will add vibrancy to the city’s dynamic tourism landscape with its world-class sports, leisure and entertainment experiences. A first-of-its-kind destination set in the heart of the city will bring the global community to Hong Kong.”