I would like to express my heartfelt appreciation to the Government and our industry partners for their stalwart support of the Hong Kong Tourism Board (HKTB) and for helping ensure we maintain our status as one of the world’s leading destinations.
Your hard work and commitment have paid dividends. We saw a rebound in visitor numbers in 2017 after two years of decline with overall arrivals rising 3.2% and overnight arrivals jumping 5%. The quality of visitors’ experience improved too with more people saying they were satisfied with their stay and likely to return and more people saying they would recommend Hong Kong to their friends.
These impressive achievements lay the foundations for continuing tourism growth and have been made possible by the dedication of our friends and partners in the Government and the hospitality sector and, of course, the people of Hong Kong who give a unique personal touch to every visit.
Our continuing success as a world-class travel destination depends upon our ability to imagine and constantly innovate. The HKTB has worked closely with the Government and our industry partners on a range of exciting new initiatives aimed at attracting more high-yield visitors and raise the quality of the visitor experience.
Supported by Government funding in 2017, we organised Hong Kong’s first e-Sports and Music Festival, rolled out a dazzling new Symphony of Lights show, enhanced various mega events and rolled out a series of trade support programmes. Besides, the HKTB has initiated an enticing neighbourhood programme, starting with the Old Town Central promotion, to offer travellers authentic, up-close encounters with our rich culture and living past.
The future for Hong Kong tourism is exceptionally bright. The High Speed Rail link to the Mainland, the Hong Kong-Zhuhai-Macao Bridge, the Greater Bay Area development, and the visionary Belt and Road Initiative open the door to immense new travel possibilities, particularly in the development of multi-destination itineraries.
Tourism is a pillar of Hong Kong’s economy. It touches every citizen and positively affects our quality of life by providing jobs and generation income for people working in a multitude of sectors and trades. We cannot succeed without the support of the Government and the community and we depend upon a united approach to take our tourism industry forward.
Let’s build on our unity and sense of common purpose and continue to work together to guide this city of wonders towards an even more remarkable tourism future.
Hong Kong is an extraordinary spirited and resilient city. Thanks to a concerted and determined effort from all sectors of society including the Government, the travel trade, and the Hong Kong community at large in 2017, we were able to reverse two years of decline in visitor arrivals.
Throughout the year, the Hong Kong Tourism Board (HKTB) worked hand in hand with the Government and travel trade partners to roll out comprehensive visitor engagement programmes to enhance their experience at every single stage, from choosing Hong Kong as their destination to sharing happy moments with friends after visiting.
To inspire visitors, we used HKTB’s digital and PR communications platforms as the backbone to bring Hong Kong’s story to a worldwide audience, spreading our message to every continent using social media and global media along with our DiscoverHongKong.com site that has 10 million followers and 120 million page views a year. In 2017, our global publicity impact reached a value of more than HK$7 billion.
To give visitors more reasons to book a trip to Hong Kong, we teamed up with about 160 travel trade partners covering hotels, airlines, attractions, retail, and catering merchants to provide more enticing deals to visitors, following up on the success of our “Hong Kong Family Fun” and “Getaway to Hong Kong” promotions.
Our work doesn’t stop after a holiday is booked. We worked throughout 2017 to ensure a richer, more satisfying experience for every visitor to ensure they return to our city again and again and recommend it to their friends.
Over the course of the year, we staged and promoted more than 90 different events. We also hosted our most spectacular ever Wine and Dine Festival and brought the city’s first Union Cycliste Internationale (UCI) Class 1.1 road race event to the annual Cyclothon. And to increase the diversity of our visitor appeal, we launched Old Town Central, the first in a series of exciting new initiatives that take visitors deep into our distinctive neighbourhoods to explore their culture and discover Hong Kong like a local.
Considerable effort was made to ensure Hong Kong is much more than just a destination and is a place that lives on in the hearts and minds of everyone who comes here long after they have returned home. That is reflected in the way visitors have shared more than one million images and videos from their Hong Kong trips through #DiscoverHongKong.
A healthy, vibrant tourism industry that continues to develop and evolve depends upon the united efforts of everyone in the industry. The HKTB supported its trade partners in business ventures worldwide. Thanks to the Government funding in 2017, we subsidised the travel trade in attracting more small and medium-sized MICE groups to Hong Kong and launched the “Hong Kong Transit Programme” and “Hong Kong Extended Stay Programme” to encourage transit passengers and short-term visitors to stay a little longer in Hong Kong. A Green Tourism Pilot Scheme was also introduced to encourage travel operators to develop new products highlighting Hong Kong’s outstanding natural scenery.
None of these mentioned initiatives would have been possible without the unstinting support of the Government, our trade partners, our sponsors, and the people of Hong Kong. I would also like to express my profound gratitude to the members of the HKTB board for their guidance and support, and my colleagues for their tireless dedication and hard work.
As always, Hong Kong manages to weather the storms of adversity. With the completion of the milestone rail and road infrastructure projects linking us to the Mainland, we stand at the beginning of a golden new era of opportunity that will make Hong Kong a hub for travellers from every corner of the world.
With our unity, our ingenuity, our passion and our unquenchable spirit, I am confident that we will seize the opportunities before us and cement Hong Kong’s status as a city for all seasons, and one of the world’s most exciting and unforgettable travel destinations.