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Thursday, Apr 25, 2024

'More fun in HK than Singapore'

'More fun in HK than Singapore'

The SAR is way more fun than Singapore, says Paul Chan, who adds he is confident the Hong Kong tourism industry's recovery will not fall behind that of the Lion City.
Regarding the budget plan - which included a HK$2.7 billion loan to support eligible passenger transport operators and licensed travel agents - Chan was asked why the government did not provide a business resumption fund to the travel industry or invest directly in small and medium enterprises like Singapore.

Chan said Hong Kong's tourism appeal is different than that of Singapore. He said: "We are way more fun. We have natural mountains and tourists can also cross the border to the mainland."

Chan said private enterprises' operations should follow the market and direct support with public money could only be provided to companies when they encounter shocking impacts, such as during the early stages of the pandemic.

Secretary for Culture, Sports and Tourism Kevin Yeung Yun-hung said over HK$4.4 billion was allocated to support the tourism industry during the pandemic in the past three years.

He said the new schemes announced in the budget will offer fully guaranteed loans for some 1,600 travel agencies with a credit guarantee of up to 10 years.

Yeung said he understands the industry is facing challenges in manpower shortages and other preparation work but he believes the loans could help the sector recover. As tourists are returning to Hong Kong after the borders reopened, Yeung believes the industry has passed the most difficult time and will resume gradually.

Meanwhile, Secretary for Home and Youth Affairs Alice Mak Mei-kuen said the gourmet marketplace and food fairs under the "Happy Hong Kong" campaign will be held in several districts across the city on different weekends.

Mak said HK$20 million has been earmarked for the campaign and she hopes that the events could be launched soon to support local spending, especially since the new round of consumption vouchers are expected in April.

She also hopes the gourmet marketplace and food fairs will include a "youth sector" where young people can run their own stalls.

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