Following months of industry speculation, Hong Kong Tourism Board
(HKTB) has rolled out a set of standardised hygiene protocols for
tourism and MICE-related businesses in an effort to restore confidence
Launched in partnership with the Hong Kong Quality Assurance Agency
(HKQAA), the protocol will provide unified guidelines on hygiene and
anti-epidemic measures for tourism-related industries, and ultimately,
bolster public confidence for out-of-home consumption and international
travel into Hong Kong.
“The COVID-19 pandemic has brought a new normal to the tourism
landscape, and public health and safety have become a priority for
visitors. Many international travel and tourism organisations have
already put in place hygiene and anti-epidemic guidelines, and
standardising hygiene measures for each sector can spread to visitors
the message that different sectors across Hong Kong value their
commitment to hygiene and safety,” said Dr YK Pang, chairman, HKTB.
The protocol will roll out in two phases and more than 1,800 local businesses have already expressed interest in participation.
Applications for phase one began on 8 October, covering shopping
malls, hotels, attractions, inbound tour operators, and restaurants and
retail outlets under the Quality Tourism Services (QTS) Scheme. M&C
Asia understands that phase two will launch about three months after,
covering cross-boundary coach companies, tour coach companies, MICE
venues, and other retail and dining merchants. To relieve the financial
burden on trade, HKTB will fully sponsor application fees for qualified
Thereafter, public may easily identify the list of businesses and
outlets who have passed the assessment via a designated logo displayed
physically at venues, or at HKQAA’s website. Authorities will also
conduct random visits for continued inspections.
In addition, as a step of transparency in a time where the public are
scrutinising more than ever, all details submitted by qualified
organisations will be uploaded to a designated website and left open for
“While restaurants and retailers under the QTS Scheme have already
actively improved their hygiene and anti-epidemic measures, having a
standardised protocol will certainly boost the confidence of the public
and visitors in enjoying the services provided by the participants. I
hope chain stores and individual outlets will adopt the protocol and
foster a healthy and safe consumption environment in the whole city,”
said Simon Wong, Chairman of the Quality Tourism Services Association.
Hong Kong’s delayed tourism hygiene framework comes as travel between
Macau and China resumes, signalling that a reopening of the SAR's
boarders could be on the horizon.
HKTB’s approach is similar to Singapore Tourism Board's (STB) SG
Clean initiative, launched back in March. The island destination then
gradually eased social restrictions and most recently allowed pilot MICE
events of up to 250 pax to take place.
So the only question left for Hong Kong is, could this be a case of good news that has come a little too late?