Hong Kong Tourism launches strategy to boost travel recovery and sustainable development

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The Hong Kong Tourism Board (HKTB) has announced its 2021-22 work plan, setting out a series of flexible short-term and medium-to-long-term strategies to prepare for the return of tourists, attract high-yield visitors, and drive the sustainable growth of the tourism industry.

HKTB executive director Dane Cheng said: “Despite the start of vaccinations against COVID- 19 worldwide, the pandemic situation remains volatile and unpredictable. We consider it unlikely Hong Kong will see a full resumption of cross-border travel in the next three to six months. However, we do expect it to be possible for Hong Kong to welcome tourists from selected markets. In formulating our strategies for 2021/22, we focused on two major areas.”

“Firstly, we saw a need to offer support to the trade and boost the ambience in Hong Kong, while ensuring the city’s continued exposure on the international stage ahead of the resumption of international travel. Secondly, we anticipate competition for tourists will be intense once the pandemic is over, with rival markets going to great lengths to bring visitors back. The HKTB is therefore setting aside resources for large-scale promotions so that Hong Kong will stand out against competing destinations,” he added.

Cheng stressed that the HKTB would maintain a flexible approach and be prudent in its use of resources while the pandemic continued. “Most of our additional funding of more than HKD 700 million (USD 90.16 million) for 2020-21 has not been used because of the pandemic, and the remainder will be returned in full to the government,” he said. “For 2021-22, the HKTB will receive additional funding of HKD 765 million (USD 98.53 million), similar to the amount allocated in last financial year.”

The HKTB will have a marketing budget of HKD 1,138 million (USD 146.57 million) for the 2021-22 financial year, including recurrent funding. Details of the deployment of the marketing budget is listed below:

Short-term strategies – Focusing on bringing back visitors 

The HKTB has been boosting local consumption and encouraging the people of Hong Kong to explore the city. When the pandemic situation has stabilised, we will launch a new Spend-to- Redeem programme, called “Staycation Delights”, to offer an additional option for Hong Kong people to enjoy some of the experiences local tourism has to offer. We will kick start the Phase II of “Free Tour” programme once the government restrictions on local tours are lifted.

The HKTB will also launch a large-scale promotional platform called “Open House Hong Kong” when cross-border travel gradually resumes. The campaign will leverage exclusive experiences and citywide offers to drum up visitors’ desire to travel to Hong Kong.

The HKTB will revamp its Mainland strategies and will increase marketing resources for the Greater Bay Area (GBA) to attract visitors to travel to Hong Kong for leisure.

Medium-to-long-term strategies – Capturing high-yield visitor segment

The HKTB is conducting a holistic review of Hong Kong’s tourism brand and positioning. We will formulate a long-term promotional strategy for sustainable development of the local tourism sector. When cross-border travel gradually resumes, we will launch large-scale promotions on the new tourism brand on multiple channels, including digital platforms in source markets worldwide, together with partnerships with major international media outlets to present Hong Kong’s reinvented tourism image.

Ongoing initiatives – Supporting trade and maintaining HK’s exposure

The HKTB will continue to enhance the subsidy schemes and sponsor trade members’ participation in trade events to help hasten their business recovery