The landscape of modern tourism is forever changing and increasingly competitive. In this challenging climate, we have to act swiftly and decisively to ensure the healthy and sustainable development of Hong Kong tourism. There is an added urgency to this mission because of the importance of tourism to Hong Kong. It is an industry that directly employs more than 230,000 people and which produced HK$332 billion in income for our city in 2013.
That is why we work tirelessly to identify and act upon tomorrow’s opportunities today to ensure our tourism industry goes from strength to strength. While maintaining a diverse visitor portfolio continues to be our overarching strategy, we must respond quickly and flexibly to emerging market trends to seize new opportunities.
In 2013/14, we identified three areas with long-term potential – cruise travel and multi-destination travel, whose popularity continues to grow, and MICE travel, which has remained relatively stable despite a dip in business travel amidst the volatility of the global economy.
To capitalise on these vital trends, we rolled out a number of new initiatives. In the area of cruise travel, following the successful opening of the Kai Tak Cruise Terminal, we launched the Asia Cruise Fund with the Taiwan Tourism Bureau to bolster regional co-operation. The network has since been extended to ports across the region.
We also stepped up our efforts to promote MICE tourism by proactively reaching out to event organisers and offering outstanding support to persuade them to come back to Hong Kong year after year, like the prestigious Watches&Wonders which has again chosen us as its destination after a 2013 debut here.
Multi-destination tourism remains a significant evolving trend too, particularly with the Guangzhou-Shenzhen-Hong Kong Express Rail Link and the Hong Kong-Zhuhai-Macao Bridge due to be completed soon. We are working more closely than ever with neighbouring cities in the region to offer attractive itineraries to visitors looking for multi-attraction holiday ideas.
Most importantly, we must stay diligent in improving areas that serve to enhance Hong Kong’s “Asia’s World City” destination appeal, such as enriching the events calendar, preserving and promoting events with international appeal, and raising the bar for service quality.
I would like to take this opportunity to thank all of our partners, including the government and the travel trade, for their staunch and continuous support, without which none of our initiatives would have been possible.
We can never completely control our destiny, of course. What happens tomorrow will always be uncertain, especially in a turbulent global economy, and with intense competition from rival destinations.
We can, however, shape our future by working closely with our partners and the community to make the most of emerging trends. By seizing those opportunities today, we can create a bright future for our tourism industry and for our city.
Dr Peter Lam
Hong Kong Tourism Board
Executive Director’s Statement
2013 was another remarkable year for tourism in Hong Kong. Our visitor numbers surpassed 54 million, and we took in an unprecedented HK$332 billion in tourism receipts.
Today, thanks in large part to the concerted effort of our tourism industry, the government and the community, Hong Kong is one of the world’s most popular cities to visit, and has since 2010 topped Euromonitor International’s Top 100 City Destinations Ranking.
These are achievements we can take pride in, but we must not forget that success tomorrow depends upon our continuing hard work today, and we are determined to maintain our efforts to ensure the sustainable long-term growth of our tourism industry.
To pave way for the future, the Hong Kong Tourism Board (HKTB) concentrated on various key areas in 2013/14, including the following:
Driving the growth of overnight visitors by investing in 20 high-potential markets
Our main goal remained to uphold Hong Kong’s position as a world-class, international travel destination and maximise the benefits generated by tourism to Hong Kong’s economy. To this end, we focused our energy on attracting overnight visitors from the high-yield segments, namely the mid-career and achiever segments, and put most of our resources into 20 high-potential markets, with the majority of our marketing budget allocated to the global, non-Mainland markets.
Bolstering our tourism brand and our creative marketing efforts
The key to promoting Hong Kong is to put the city in the forefront of people’s minds. We have continued to successfully brand ourselves as Asia’s world city and have launched a series of internationally acclaimed marketing and PR campaigns to stimulate travellers’ desire to visit Hong Kong.
Enhancing the visitor experience through mega events and quality service
At home, we put on a rich calendar of events, including the American Express Hong Kong Wine & Dine Festival, which has been growing in popularity year by year, and Hong Kong WinterFest, our hugely popular Christmas celebration. We also enhanced our service programmes, including the Quality Tourism Services Scheme, and expanded our professional support for the travel trade through a dedicated hotline to ensure quality service and assistance for visitors.
Capitalising on new trends to attract high-yield visitor segments
Last year, both total cruise passenger throughput and overnight MICE arrivals to Hong Kong showed a year-on-year increase. To grow the high-potential cruise and MICE segments, the HKTB launched the Asia Cruise Fund with the Taiwan Tourism Bureau, with the aim of encouraging cruise co-operation among regional ports, and put greater effort into persuading associations and conference organisers from the US, Europe and Mainland China to choose Hong Kong for their future events.
Fostering closer partnership with the trade and other stakeholders
Most certainly, our marketing initiatives on all fronts require the support of our trade partners to succeed. In 2013/14, we continued to work closely with our partners to promote Hong Kong. In addition to organising and supporting regular trade activities, we supported a new batch of Explore Hong Kong Tours developed by the travel trade under our New Tour Product Development Scheme. We also further upgraded our PartnerNet website to better connect with and create more business-building opportunities for the local and international travel trade.
All our work is the joint effort of the HKTB and our partners, including the government, our sponsors, the travel and related sectors, our Board Members and all of my colleagues at the HKTB.
I would like to take this opportunity to thank them all for their support over the past year, and I look forward to shaping the future for Hong Kong tourism through our continued partnership.
Hong Kong Tourism Board