Wednesday, December 1, 2021

Hong Kong prepares to reopen travel for selected markets

Despite the start of vaccinations against Covid-19 worldwide, the pandemic situation remains volatile and unpredictable.

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The Hong Kong Tourism Board (HKTB) has announced its plan to prepare for the recovery of tourism and the resumption of international travel.

Its short-term strategy will focus on encouraging back international visitors to Hong Kong as soon as possible.

When borders reopen and global travel resumes, HKTB will launch “Open House Hong Kong”, a campaign designed to restore visitor arrivals through offers and exclusive experiences.

In the medium-to-long-term, HKTB is conducting a complete review of Hong Kong’s tourism brand and positioning.

Following the resumption of travel, HKTB will launch large-scale promotions through multiple channels including digital platforms in key source markets, as well as media and tour operator co-ops to present Hong Kong’s reinvented tourism image.

In addition, HKTB will develop multi-destination partnerships with cities in the Greater Bay Area (GBA), such as Macao and Guangzhou.

These partnerships will be designed to enhance Hong Kong’s reputation as the gateway into mainland China.

The two phased approach to the plan will complement the ongoing initiatives to support the travel trade, cruise and MICE industries, as well as maintain Hong Kong’s international exposure.

MICE, an acronym for meetings, incentives, conferencing, and exhibitions, is an overarching term that encompasses a highly lucrative niche tourism group dedicated to business events.

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.”

He added, “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.”

Hong Kong has been relatively unaffected by Covid-19, with only 202 deaths, but has seen major disruption to international travel as China closed borders to guests in early 2020.

The city has also been shaken by major political protests against creeping Chinese influence in recent months, with demonstrators demanding a return to the democratic norms established under the constitution. The disruption and negative publicity could deter international visitors.

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