Hong Kong eyes youth travel to revive Indian market

HKTB promoting Old Town Central walking trails

The Hong Kong Tourism Board (HKTB) is taking steps to attract younger travellers from India in hopes of reversing declining arrivals from the market.

Hong Kong recorded 149,000 overnight arrivals from India in the first six months of 2017, a 15 per cent dip from the same period last year. The decline has been attributed to the introduction of pre-arrival registration for the Indian market, the strengthening the Hong Kong dollar, and an increase in direct flights between India and mainland China.

HKTB promoting Old Town Central walking trails

“The pre-arrival registration has (put) a few people off visiting (Hong Kong) because it takes a while for travellers to understand the new process. Indian tourists see Hong Kong as a last-minute destination. Without successfully registering for pre-arrival, it will take Indian travellers longer to get a visa,” said Peter Hoslin, HKTB’s regional director, Europe and new markets on the sidelines of a recent mission to Chennai, Mumbai, Kolkata and Delhi.

The HKTB’s focus is now on India’s seasoned travellers in their early 20s to early 40s. “We (are targeting) New Delhi, Mumbai and Bengaluru as we see an inclination (of travellers) in these cities to visit Asian destinations,” he added. “We want to target young, evolved travellers who have been to a few destinations before they choose Hong Kong.

“For us, young travellers comprise 54 per cent of the Indian overnight stay. Most of our visitors from India (70 per cent) are visiting Hong Kong for the first time. We want to (increase the share of) younger segment as they are likely to be repeat visitors,” said Hoslin.

With attractions like Hong Kong Disneyland and Ocean Park already popular among Indian travellers, the NTO is now looking to promote experiential products such as walking trails in Old Town Central among India’s youth segment.

Apart from travel trade partnerships, the HKTB is banking on fam trips for trade and media, in addition to digital and social media strategies, to reach out to young Indian travellers. Its new TV commercial, scheduled to run from September, is expected to help attract the segment.

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