The tourism industry involves everyone in the community of all ages and walks of life. The success of the industry depends heavily on nurturing a city-wide culture of excellent service and hospitality. Just as there is always something interesting to be discovered in every corner of the city, everyone in the community can act as a friendly tourism ambassador.

In 2015/16, we organised and supported a wide range of initiatives with the aim of encouraging the general public to proactively contribute to the tourism industry, which is one of the four pillar industries of Hong Kong’s economy.

“Let’s be generous hosts”

In early 2016, we were honoured to have Financial Secretary Mr John Tsang star in a catchy tourism promotion video. In the two-minute video, Mr Tsang offers a glimpse of his humorous charisma, while at the same time calling for all members of the public to warmly welcome visitors from all over the world.

Sprinkled with witty puns and light-hearted banter, the video evokes a sense of belonging to Hong Kong. It was met with a positive response after its debut in April on various television stations and our “Discover Hong Kong” YouTube channel. Accompanied with a powerful theme song performed by veteran singer Mr George Lam, the video is a constant reminder for all Hong Kong citizens to be welcoming hosts.

Calling for tourism enthusiasts

Every year, passionate citizens, including retirees, apply for the Hong Kong Pals Programme to provide highly personal assistance to tourists at our Visitor Centres. The low volunteer turnover rate and the highly positive feedback from travellers about the volunteer ambassador programme are testimony to how successful it has been since we launched it in 2009.

About a dozen of new pals are recruited each year to keep the variety of skills and knowledge the team offers fresh. In addition to performing their regular duties providing information to visitors, they boost visitors’ experience by offering seasonal treats. During the Lunar New Year, for instance, there were customised fai chun writing demonstrations, and goldfish crafts made from lai see packets were handed out to get visitors in the festive atmosphere.

Drawing on the talent and enthusiasm of our volunteers, we further enhanced the programme with a “Meet the Pals” element, offering themed presentations hosted by experts on different topics for travellers with specific interests in mind.

Some words of appreciation for the Hong Kong Pals Programme travellers posted on TripAdvisor:

“We stayed in Hong Kong for Chinese New Year, and the staff at the [Visitor Centre] were amazingly helpful! They had a calligraphy artist there who designed personalised paintings for my parents and me, which was such a nice gesture. We will definitely take them back home and frame them!”

“My wife and I met with an HKTB volunteer to explore the ‘Real treasures in Sham Shui Po’. Our volunteer, Ernest, was personable and extremely knowledgeable. What made the experience great was his willingness to answer all our questions and provide us with a local’s invaluable insight on transportation, dining, etc.”

“On my recent trip to HK, I met up with a representative assigned by HKTB to lead a tour titled ‘Taking stunning photos in HK’. My one-hour session with Dr Michael Li and the staff at the Peak was immensely appreciated. They were very helpful in pointing out places where an enthusiast photographer would go. On my next visit, I’m looking forward to seeing some of the areas I missed on this trip.”

Educating young people to support Hong Kong tourism

The HKTB believes that devotion to the tourism industry starts from a young age. Through talks and workshops, the HKTB encourages young people to strive constantly to perfect the city’s tourism quality and image.

During the year, we organised talks at various tertiary institutes to share with students our strategic plans in marketing and public relations to promote Hong Kong as a world-class destination.

Students from The Hong Kong Polytechnic University’s School of Hotel & Tourism Management and business students majoring in Tourism and Event Management at Hong Kong Baptist University’s School of Continuing Education were among some of the groups the HKTB reached out to in 2015/16.

To better equip the Hong Kong Young Ambassadors, selected annually by The Hong Kong Federation of Youth Groups and the Tourism Commission, the HKTB held workshops to keep them informed of our work and help them develop skills for serving visitors.

Enhancing and recognising Hong Kong’s tourism quality

Excellent customer service that contributes to a welcoming experience is vital for the tourism industry. By honouring the dedication of frontline staff and other industry players to upholding the city’s image, the HKTB promotes a culture of service excellence among industry members.

The HKTB appointed the winner of the Immigration Department’s 2015 Most Courteous Immigration Control Officer Election as the Hong Kong Courtesy Ambassador.

The HKTB participated in the judging of Next Magazine’s Top Service Awards, which recognise the efforts of enterprises and employees in providing excellent customer service.

To acknowledge airport staff who provide visitors with top-notch service, HKTB Chairman Dr Peter Lam attended and presented prizes at the award ceremony for the 2015 HKIA Customer Service Excellence Programme.

The HKTB is also a long-time supporter of the Customer Service Excellence Award, which is held annually by the Hong Kong Association for Customer Service Excellence (HKACE).

To commend the excellent performance of local shopping malls, HKTB Chairman Dr Peter Lam attended the presentation ceremony of Hong Kong Economic Times’ Shopping Mall Awards 2015/16.

Encouraging collaborations across industries

The ability to cultivate relationships and generate creative ideas is just one of the reasons the HKTB is so keen on collaborating with different sectors. In 2015/16, the HKTB continued to maintain close ties with a number of industry partners.

HKTB Executive Director Mr Anthony Lau attended the “2015 Seminar on Strengthening Hong Kong-Zhuhai Cooperation” as a guest speaker to share his views on fostering closer tourism collaboration among cities in the Pearl River Delta.

HKTB Chairman Dr Peter Lam gave an overview on HKTB’s investment and marketing strategies at a tourism forum organised by the Hong Kong General Chamber of Commerce and China Tourism Academy.

The HKTB also continued to strengthen its ties with influential investors and stakeholders, including Morgan Stanley, the American Chamber of Commerce and the Hong Kong French Chamber of Commerce through regular meetings.