Staycation bonus to spend at shops
The Tourism Board will launch a discount program for 20,000 Hongkongers to spend a staycation in more than 100 local hotels.
Residents spending HK$800 can enjoy a HK$500 discount on hotel stays under its "Staycation Delights" program, board executive director Dane Cheng Ting-yat said yesterday.
More than 140 hotels, including five-star ones, have applied to join the progra, while designated quarantine hotels will not.
He said the program is not at attempt to subsidize hotels. Instead, it is an "award" for Hong Kong residents as the spend-and-redeem program encourages people to go out and spend to boost consumption and the economy.
"Other than tour packages, organized or operated by tour operators and travel agents, is there anything else that is relevant and related to the travel industry? And naturally the hotel staycation is something we think that Hong Kong residents will very much like to enjoy as an award. We want to give people a choice," Cheng said.
The board will also roll out the phase two of the "Free Tour" program once the restrictions on tours are lifted for Hongkongers to enjoy a tour after spending HK$800.
Cheng said the program was popular, with the 10,000 free day tours up for grabs gone in a week after its launch last year.
The quotas for phase two will be doubled. More than 200 travel agencies have applied to take part.
The board has not set an exact date for rolling out the two programs, which will cost about HK$20 million, but Cheng hoped they can be launched in a few weeks if the pandemic is under control in the city.
On the HK$5,000 consumption vouchers proposed in the budget, Cheng said the board will think of ways to collaborate on the scheme, such as how people can use the receipts to redeem after using the consumption vouchers.
Cheng also talked about a recovery plan for cruise tourism, saying the board is discussing with the government on launching local high sea cruise staycations.
The board will have an additional funding of HK$765 million for 2021-22.
Resources will also be reserved for large-scale promotions for reopening of markets where the board will explore how to inject the Greater Bay Area elements into mega events like the Hong Kong Cyclothon.
Cheng said Hong Kong saw only 3.6 million visitor arrivals last year, a decrease of 93.6 percent on 2019's 55.9 million, and many of them were here for reasons like family and work.
He added that most of the HK$700 million additional funding for 2020-21 has not been used because of the pandemic and the board has returned the leftover sum.