Hong Kong gets hefty tourism development funding boost

The Hong Kong government has allocated more than HK$1.09 billion (US$127.7 million) in funding to strengthen the destination brand and expedite tourism development.

Financial secretary Paul Chan said the newly released budget would allow Hong Kong’s tourism industry to create more products and stage more events to attract high-quality tourists who would also spend more time in the destination.

Hong Kong will build a greater line-up of experiences and mega events as well as lead intensified destination marketing

Hong Kong’s mega events calendar will feature big names like the 15th National Games in 2025, jointly hosted by Hong Kong, Guangdong Province and Macau; as well as financial forums such as the Asian Financial Forum, the Global Financial Leaders’ Investment Summit, and the Asian Financial Forum.

The funding will also facilitate the creation of the Sponsored Overseas Speaking Engagement Programme, which will sponsor reputable scholars and industry leaders to attend overseas events where they will promote Hong Kong’s many strengths.

Visitors to Hong Kong can expect a medley of new and enhanced experiences, such as monthly pyrotechnic and drone shows set against Victoria Harbour; a revamped A Symphony of Lights light-and-sound show; immersive city walk programmes; and various outdoor activities like hiking, cycling, stand-up paddle-boarding, trail-running, and stargazing in the wilderness.

The Tourism Commission will continue to organise signature creative arts and cultural projects in the coming years. Such projects, like the Sai Kung Hoi Arts Festival and the Design District Hong Kong, have been very well received.

The hefty budget will be accessible to Hong Kong Tourism Board, with HK$971 million set for use over three years – 2024/25, 2025/26, and 2026/27 – while HK$665 million is earmarked for 2024/25.

HKTB chairman Pang Yiu-kai thanked the government’s funding and shared usage intentions: “We will adopt four key strategies to reinforce the city’s status. First, we will continue to develop diverse tourism experiences. Second, we will organise and support mega events throughout the year. Third, we will step up promotions in visitor source markets. And finally, we will continue to join hands with the industry to enhance the capacity to receive visitors, to launch a new promotional campaign to encourage the trade and the public to be good hosts, and to enhance service qualities so that we offer every visitor the best possible experience.”

Cathay Group welcomes the government’s pro-tourism budget. Its executive officer Ronald Lam said: “As a committed enabler of Hong Kong’s future through our ability to connect Hong Kong and the Chinese Mainland with the world, Cathay remains focused on continuing to sustainably grow our business as Hong Kong’s home carrier.”

Lam reinforced that Hong Kong has a thriving international aviation hub, where Cathay, together with about 120 airlines, provides flight services to some 180 destinations globally from Hong Kong International Airport.

“We enthusiastically welcome initiatives that further strengthen Hong Kong’s leading hub status,” he stated.

Set for operations in end-2024, the Three-Runway System at Hong Kong International Airport is expected to bring new and exciting opportunities for the aviation industry.

Lam said: “We fully support the government’s proactive plans to leverage the opportunities presented by the Hong Kong-Zhuhai-Macao Bridge and the Three-Runway System to foster increased intermodal connectivity, and continue to develop flight services along existing major routes as well as routes connecting Hong Kong with Belt and Road Initiative countries and regions.”

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