The Hong Kong Tourism Board (HKTB) announced a revitalisation plan that highlights Hong Kong's vibrant developments and new experiences, with the goal of creating a positive atmosphere and making the city a top-of-mind destination for global travellers when travel resumes.
Tourism Update 2022, with the theme “Together Towards New Horizons”, drew 3 200 trade representatives from Hong Kong, mainland China, and overseas markets, including travel agencies, attractions, hotels, airlines, retailers, restaurants, and meeting and exhibition organisers.
The tourism board provided insights into current tourism trends as well as its work plan for the coming year.
Board chairperson YK Pang emphasised Hong Kong's return to normality in his opening remarks.
“The pandemic's fifth wave is receding,” he said. “Daily life and economic activities in Hong Kong are gradually returning to normal, allowing us to stage large-scale events and prepare to welcome visitors back.”
“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,” Pang added.
HKTB executive director Dane Cheng said the tourism board would focus first on generating a positive atmosphere in the city, stimulating consumption, and maintaining Hong Kong's profile globally by launching “Hong Kong Summer Treats” in his presentation of the work plan for the coming year.
The campaign will offer a variety of discounts and promotional opportunities, and will kick off with “Arts in Hong Kong” – an initiative that supports international art and cultural events such as Art Basel, which will return in a physical format.
When social distancing measures are relaxed further, the board will organise more world-class events in phases, such as the Hong Kong Wine & Dine Festival and the Hong Kong Winter Fest, and will support 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 international 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.”
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 and our wealth of new tourism assets and infrastructure, Hong Kong's tourism future is full of potential.”
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 of the West Kowloon Cultural District 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.”
The integration of culture, sports, and tourism is a key development direction. The general director (commercial) of Kai Tak Sports Park, 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.”