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 October 11, 2006
The Hong Kong Tourism Board Welcomes Policy Address By Chief Executive

 The Hong Kong Tourism Board (HKTB) warmly welcomes the Policy Address presented by Chief Executive Mr Donald Tsang (11 October), in which a number of measures were announced to facilitate further development of Hong Kong's tourism industry.

The HKTB is especially pleased to learn that the Individual Visit Scheme (IVS) will be further extended to cover Shijiazhuang in Hebei, Zhengzhou in Henan, Changchun in Jilin, Hefei in Anhui and Wuhan in Hubei from 1 January 2007. The extension of the scheme to these cities in Central, Eastern and Northern China, which enjoy considerable economic development potential and total registered population of 36.5 million, will help advance the HKTB's activities in the Mainland.

The HKTB has already been laying the groundwork in these cities through travel trade and consumer promotions, and public relations activities in the past few years. To fully tap their potential, the HKTB will leverage its various Mainland offices to implement a series of marketing initiatives. The Board will also strengthen its co-operation with the Public Security Bureaux in each of these cities to disseminate information and enhance residents' knowledge of the IVS so as to encourage them to apply for endorsement under the Scheme.

On the development of the cruise terminal, the HKTB is delighted that Stage 3 consultation on Kai Tak Planning Review has been completed, and the public generally supports the development of a cruise terminal at the tip of the former runway. The HKTB understands that local tourism industry partners are keen on the early completion of the cruise terminal, which will consolidate the city's position as a hub for cruising in South China and the Far East.

Indeed, cruise is an important sector for Hong Kong's tourism industry because it is high-yield and has strong growth potential. In the first six months of 2006, a throughput of 35,000 overseas passengers was recorded, representing an increase of more than 30% over the same period in 2005. A total of 40 international ship calls have already been confirmed for 2006, 30% more than last year. As for 2007, there are so far 36 confirmed ship calls.

The HKTB is also encouraged by the series of measures laid down in the Policy Address to reduce air pollution, which is closely related to the tourism industry, and Hong Kong's image as an international city. The HKTB hopes that these measures can further enhance visitors' experiences in the city.