The Hong Kong Tourism Board (HKTB) held its annual Tourism Update event online on 18 May, discussing tourism trends and sharing details of the HKTB’s latest strategic plans with around 2,700 trade representatives from HK, mainland and overseas travel agencies, attractions, hotels, airlines, retailers, restaurants, meeting and exhibition operators, cruise lines, and other travel sectors. HKTB Executive Director Mr Dane Cheng told the representatives the HKTB was preparing to step up promotions and would launch a new round of the Hong Kong Neighbourhoods campaign. In addition, the HKTB also hopes to relaunch mega events in physical formats to prepare for tourism recovery.
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HKTB Chairman Dr YK Pang (left) and Executive Director Mr Dane Cheng (right) shared their analysis of recent tourism trends and HKTB’s latest strategic planning. (Photo: Business Wire)
Mr Cheng said: “As well as driving local tourism through the Holiday at Home platform, the HKTB has maintained HK’s international profile with a succession of promotional campaigns throughout the pandemic.
“The global economy has started to rebound with Asia predicted to recover sooner and the Mainland expected to outperform other markets in economic growth. Combined with the gradual easing of the pandemic situation in HK, this makes it a good time for HK to further raise its profile. As cross-border travel gradually resumes, the HKTB will launch the Open House Hong Kong platform to conduct large-scale promotions in our source markets.”
The HKTB has in recent years launched two promotions, Old Town Central and Sham Shui Po, under its Hong Kong Neighbourhoods campaign. Both were warmly welcomed by visitors who appreciated the in-depth experience they offered. To tie in with the opening of M+ visual culture venue in late 2021, the HKTB will focus its next promotion on the West Kowloon Cultural District and its surrounding area in the next quarter by revamping the promotions on the authentic local cultural aspects of the neighbourhood to help boost interest from visitors as travel resumption draws closer.
If the pandemic situation in the city remains under control, the HKTB also hopes to relaunch mega events that HK people can initially take part in. The first event to return in a physical format will be the Hong Kong Cyclothon, and the HKTB is studying the feasibility of extending its route to the HK Section of the Hong Kong-Zhuhai-Macao Bridge to add to the event’s appeal. For other mega events to be conducted in an “Online+Offline” format, new elements of interests will be added to maintain HK’s global visibility. The HKTB will also continue to lobby for international large-scale business events and meetings to be hosted in HK.
However, the pace of global tourism recovery will be determined by the situation surrounding the pandemic and the vaccination rate worldwide. The HKTB therefore appeals to everyone in tourism-related industries to take part in the vaccination programme and help HK achieve herd immunity as soon as possible.
At the event, the HKTB invited representatives from leading Mainland and HK brands to share their insights:
Forum 1: Seize the Business Development Opportunities in the Mainland and Greater Bay Area
Mr Yanxiang Liu, GM of Tickets & Travel BU, Meituan: “In the wake of the epidemic, the travel industry has accelerated its online transformation, and consumer behaviour and demand have changed. Meituan will leverage the strengths of technology and e-commerce to provide a diverse consumer experience and help HK's tourism industry better grasp market trends, allowing us to work together to build a vision for a better life.”
Mr Liwei Yang, Head of Volcengine Culture & Tourism Industry, ByteDance: “The idea that ‘content is king’ has become the key to success in digital marketing. Data analysis plays a very important role in the widespread communication of content. ByteDance will continue to maximise its capabilities in big data analysis, cloud computing and artificial intelligence to move forward with our industry partners.”
Mr Frank Huang, VP, Fliggy: “The convenience brought by the Hong Kong- Zhuhai-Macao Bridge will further increased the demand for travel within the Greater Bay Area. Fliggy will continue to work with the HK tourism trade to attract visitors from the Greater Bay Area through a variety of promotional platforms and drive tourism development.”
Forum 2: Global Hong Kong Brands Gear Up for the Recovery
Dr Jennifer Cronin, President, Wharf Hotels and Chair, Heritage Tourism Brands: “Hong Kong’s hotels are renowned for offering the world’s best service. Not only has the quality been enhanced during the pandemic, but we have also committed to be ahead of the curve in guest expectations under the new travel paradigms. I believe the HK tourism industry is more than ready and geared up for a swift recovery.”
Mr Simon Large, Director Customer, Cathay Pacific Airways: “To meet travellers' expectation throughout their consumer journey, we believe that digitalization, such as digital travel passes in the aviation industry, will play an important role in facilitating the safe, progressive return of international travel. Moreover, we also believe that vaccination is the key of tourism recovery.”
Mr Eric Gnock Fah, COO & Co-founder, KLOOK: “We are witnessing a permanent shift in consumer behaviours and digital adoption will only accelerate further. While the pandemic has brought many challenges to the travel industry, it also presents an opportunity to rethink and reinvent to address evolving customer expectations or risk being left behind.”
Mr Syed Asim Hussain, Founder, Black Sheep Restaurants: “I believe in the magic of Black Sheep Restaurants and I believe in our city. HK is going to come back in a big way, and we will be a part of the city’s comeback story. For the last two years, we have focused on survival. Now it is time for us to get back to doing what we love, which is running great restaurants, building dynamic teams and looking after our guests.”