Secretary for Commerce & Economic Development Edward Yau today announced new measures to support the tourism sector. Speaking to reporters, Mr Yau acknowledged that the tourism industry is currently facing a tough time due to a drop in visitors coming to Hong Kong.
He said the Government is taking a multi-pronged approach to tackle the downturn, which would include relaunching the Hong Kong brand overseas.
“In the eventuality when the time comes back where things have settled more peacefully, we will ‘relaunch’ Hong Kong overseas and the emphasis would be targeting those short haul visitors initially.
“We have been talking with the Tourism Board and the business sector about how best we can come up with a strategy. Basically a lot of people in the industry are onside, so we would plan ahead, but the challenge is to pick the best timing for this major relaunch.”
Mr Yau added that in the meantime, the Government’s measures will support the industry by reducing their operating costs.
“Facing this very stiff economic time, we also need to help travel industry people by relieving their costs. So all the measures I introduced and also highlighted today are there to reduce their business running costs, for instance, exempting certain fees and charges, and also helping them to go out to promotional events by subsidising them.”
He stressed that it was important to keep the tourism workforce intact.
“The travel industry is one that relies on a lot of talents and experienced staff. In our discussion with the trade, the last thing they want to do is to lay off people.
“So in this difficult time, how to keep the workforce intact and also enrich their experience or upkeep their strength is another thing that we need to do. That is why I think the Employees Retraining Board programme and the exemption of fees for them to do continuing professional development training are all important.
"We hope that we can preserve not just the trade or business but also that the workforce remains intact."
Mr Yau also pointed out the Government’s ongoing efforts to help the industry, including launching programmes overseas to update people on Hong Kong’s highlights at this point of time.