THE Hong Kong government will be allocating a budget of about HK$380 million (US$49 million) to boost dwindling arrival numbers to the autonomous region, according to the financial secretary’s 2016/17 budget speech yesterday.
Apart from waiving license fees for 1,800 travel agents, 2,000 hotels and guesthouses as well as 27,000 restaurants and operators for a whole year, the government will also subsidise the implementation of information technology (IT) for small and medium-sized agencies through a HK$10 million fund.
Michael Wu, managing director, Gray Line Tours, welcomed the move and estimates that more than 1,500 agencies will be eligible to apply for the IT subsidies.
“The subsidy targets agencies with less than 50 staff who can’t afford IT initiatives like websites and online business development. Through the Travel Industry Council of Hong Kong, successful applicants may have half of their IT investment subsidised by the scheme,” said Wu.
However, Angela Ng, managing director of Blue Sky Travel Service is also concerned about maintenance costs that comes after the initial implementation.
She said: “I currently use social media which requires regular updating. If I build a company website, it will also require regular updates and uploads so it means more expenses to bear in the long term.”