Hong Kong Tourism Board outlines recovery plan

Some 1,500 travel trade experts login to a web conference to hear updates

HKTB chairman Dr Y K Pang (left) and executive director Mr Dane Cheng (right) provide the local travel trade with news. Credit: HKTB

HONG KONG - A web conference attended by some 1,500 travel trade representatives on 24 April 2020 heard about Hong Kong Tourism Board's (HKTB) strategic framework for recovery.

HKTB chairman, Dr Y K Pang, said: "The tourism landscape will be reshaped. In the post-pandemic world, we will see a shift in preference and behaviour among travellers - the public health conditions of destinations, and the hygiene standards of transportations, hotels and other tourism facilities will become a top priority; people will prefer short-haul breaks and shorter itineraries; wellness-themed trips will become a new trend.

"It is in fact an ideal time for us to review and rethink Hong Kong's position in the global tourism market and elevate service standard. Together with the travel trade, the HKTB is going to map out the long-term development strategy for our tourism industry."

Topics shared at the web conference:
-    The Mainland has gradually resumed economic activities and people have returned to work.
-    Given the outbreak's impact on the economy, consumers will become more price-conscious and pursue value-for-money holidays.
-    After prolonged confinement, visitors will also place greater emphasis on health and nature. When choosing destinations for future trips, they will favour those that pose low risks to health.
-    The Meeting and Incentive market has slowed down as many activities have been postponed or will be held online.
-    Domestic travel will be the major preference shortly after the pandemic, and outbound travel will resume soon after.
-    Regional competition will be fiercer than ever, as the tourism authorities and travel trade of various destinations are gearing up for intensive promotions to vie for visitors.
-    In Japan, Korea and Taiwan, the young and middle-aged segments will be the most eager to travel. Green tourism and the outdoors will be favoured, while short-haul travel will be preferred due to financial and holiday leave constraints.
-    A longer time is expected for long haul markets to recover and outbound travel may resume in the last quarter of this year at the earliest.
-    Ethnic Asian visitors are expected to be the first to visit Hong Kong after the pandemic.
-    Consumer sentiment is comparatively more positive in Canada, France and Germany and outbound travel is expected to recover at a faster rate in these markets.

The HKTB had announced earlier that it will be allocating HK$400 million (US$51.6 million) to support promotions by the trade. HKTB executive director, Mr Dane Cheng, explained that the HKTB's timeline for the three-phase plan to reinvigorate Hong Kong tourism will depend on the development of the pandemic.  

Phase 1 (now) - Resilience - The HKTB is preparing a recovery plan for Hong Kong tourism.

Phase 2 - Recovery - When the pandemic shows signs of abating, the HKTB will first focus on local market to promote positive ambience in Hong Kong by encouraging locals to rediscover different neighbourhoods and community cultures in order to send a positive message to visitors and restore their confidence in the city. Meanwhile, the HKTB will launch tactical promotions with the trade in selected markets based on the developments of individual markets to stimulate people's interest to visit Hong Kong.

Phase 3 - Relaunch - Mega events and a new tourism brand campaign will be launched to rebuild Hong Kong's tourism image.