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 October 10, 2007
HKTB Welcomes Chief Executive's Policy Address

 The Hong Kong Tourism Board (HKTB) welcomes the policy initiatives announced by the Chief Executive The Hon Donald Tsang (10 October), which will further enhance Hong Kong's tourism competitiveness. HKTB Chairman The Hon James Tien said that:

• We support the 10 major infrastructure projects outlined in the Policy Address. In particular, the proposed transport infrastructure, such as the South Island Line and the Sha Tin to Central Link, will add to the city's state-of-the-art and efficient public transport system, which is extremely popular with visitors, and enhance their overall experience of Hong Kong.

• We note the Government's plan to gauge the need for land supply for hotel development. We hope that under the Application List for the sale of Government land, the Government would earmark additional sites in the easily accessible prime locations strictly for hotel use, especially the development of first-class hotels, so that our tourism industry can have further capacity to accommodate the high-yield visitors.

• Notwithstanding the infrastructure development, we need the right software, that is, world-class services, to cement Hong Kong's status as a premier travel destination. The proposed relaxation of the requirements for seeking employment after graduation by non-local students and the prerequisites for the Quality Migrant Admission Scheme will enable us to recruit not only Mainland but also international talents for the hotel, catering and travel sectors. Well trained and proficient in different languages, these talents will contribute to our development of emerging markets, such as Russia.

• We are strongly encouraged by the Government's commitment to promote Hong Kong's exhibition and convention tourism, and support the proposal of setting up a cross-sector steering committee. As part of our ongoing effort to develop the MICE segment, the HKTB has recently conducted a comprehensive study to understand the latest MICE trends in different markets. The study's findings will enable us to tailor our strategies. Indeed, plans are in hand to roll out a series of targeted promotions in overseas markets. For example, we will conduct seminars to highlight Hong Kong's advantages to the MICE organisers in the UK and France later this month.

• Cultural tourism has become a global trend. The policy initiatives on heritage conservation, including the preservation and promotion of our intangible cultural heritage, the revitalisation proposal for the Central Police Station Compound at Hollywood Road and preservation of the Wan Chai open-air bazaar, will give our city's culture and heritage appeal an extra edge. We will bundle these heritage landmarks along with other attractions in the areas and promote them as clusters to visitors so that they can fully experience Hong Kong's vibrant living culture.

• We see great opportunities arising from the 2008 Beijing Olympics. The HKTB has already adopted the Olympics Games as the theme for its marketing promotions next year. Leveraging on China's growing popularity as an inbound market, the HKTB will work with travel trade to tailor combo-itineraries that include Beijing and Hong Kong pre- and post-Olympics. We will also step up collaboration with travel trade and tourism bureaux in the Pan Pearl River Delta to create combo-itineraries that feature an even wider range of destinations, such as Hainan, Guangxi, Sichuan and Yunnan. Our aim is to ensure that Hong Kong remains an essential component in all combo- and multi-destination itineraries to China in the long run.