Tourism industry veteran Gianna Hsu has been elected uncontested to the role of chairman of Hong Kong’s Travel Industry Council (TIC), which will be transitioning from a regulatory function to a travel trade association this year.
Hsu is no stranger to leadership at TIC, having served the Board for 29 years, during which she held the role of vice chairman for five terms (spanning 24 years).
Speaking to TTG Asia, Hsu said she ran for the chairman post as travel trade is her passion and she is now able to “devote more time to this busy role”.
Hsu started her career in travel 40 years ago at Towa Tours, and she is well-versed in both inbound and outbound markets.
Hsu will be leading TIC into new waters, as the organisation will shed its regulatory function for Hong Kong travel agents and cease getting government funding.
As TIC becomes a travel trade association, Hsu expects its functions to change, with a greater attention paid to revenue generation.
“We will focus on catering to the needs of members and the industry while exploring more partnership and cooperation with various stakeholders, such as travel agents, government agencies, NTOs, exhibition organisers, and other related local and overseas organisations. Hopefully, this would generate more business opportunities for TIC, our members, tour escorts and tourist guides,” she said.
In order to expand income sources, TIC has recently secured a contract with Hong Kong Tourism Board (HKTB) and M+ to train 1,000 local tour guides.
Hsu also sees opportunity in providing destination marketing support for overseas NTOs via seminars and workshops.
While TIC has some 1,700 members now, a five to 10 per cent loss in membership is expected as TIC exits the regulatory regime. The current 40-strong staff will also be halved.
Hsu will continue to be supported by former executive director Alice Chan, who has retired last December but remains as a consultant to ensure a smooth transition until the end of this year. Chan’s successor is Fanny Yeung, who brings over 30 years of travel industry experience, having worked in travel agents, airlines, GDSs and the Hong Kong Tourism Board.