With Hong Kong lifting quarantine measures last month and firing up outbound travel desire, Tourism Australia (TA) has swooped into the market with a series of trade events to reconnect with partners.
Carmen Tam, manager Hong Kong, TA said the team’s recovery plans could finally be put into action, but execution would be in phases and subjected to border quarantine restrictions.
Tam noted that Australia is perceived as a mid-haul destination among Hong Kong residents, and is a “preferred Western country” in Asia. In the coming years, TA will target Hong Kong families, particularly those with young children and tended to pick destinations like Japan, Taiwan, Thailand and Macau for vacations.
“Australia’s nature and wildlife appeal is a strong driver (for Hong Kong travellers),” Tam said, adding that TA is keen to attract high-yield family groups that desire a “safe and clean holiday”.
Aside from partnering with Austrade for the third year to deliver the Festival of Australia campaign last week, TA’s other trade engagements include the Aussie Specialist training, which carried on throughout the lockdown and has trained more than 2,100 travel agents via 40 webinars and activities.
Last week, some 32 different companies including travel agencies, OTAs and airlines took part in an Aussie Specialist Program (ASP) training webinar by Tourism and Events Queensland (TEQ).
Phoebe Mai, trade marketing manager Southern China and Hong Kong, TEQ, told TTG Asia that training programmes are given creative spins.
Its ASP event last week featured a private screening of A Ticket to Paradise film at a local movie theatre. The film was produced in Queensland and conveyed product updates.
Mai said: “We are taking Hong Kong’s 0+3 measure as our window of opportunity to support our travel trade partners in making a speedy (outbound business) recovery. We are planning to launch the Queensland is Good to Go campaign in the next six months, to attract more visitors and help them better plan their holiday in Queensland.”
Throughout the pandemic, TEQ had continuously engaged its trade partners through hybrid events and training webinars. The most recent one was in June, hosted in partnership with a travel group and elite marathon runners from Hong Kong. It offered staff training on the Gold Coast Marathon and other Queensland travel products.
Currently, the biggest challenge for TA when promoting the destination is flight capacity.
Hong Kong schedules now indicate only 22 per cent of pre-Covid seat capacity in October 2022 – Cathay Pacific’s capacity reached 32 per cent this month, with 10 flights per week into Sydney, seven flights per week into Melbourne, and three flights per week into Brisbane and Perth.
For Qantas, services to Hong Kong will only restart on January 30 next year.