Hong Kong 2003
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Tourism Friendliness

Visitor Signage and Tourist District Enhancement Improvements

The visitor signage improvement programme, which was introduced in Central and Stanley in 2001, is being extended to other districts in phases, beginning with Wong Tai Sin, Sha Tin and Sai Kung in early 2002. The programme, covering all 18 districts, will be completed in 2004. In the urban area, signs are intended to be eye-catching while in rural districts signage will blend in harmoniously with the natural environment.

The district-based enhancement projects at the Sai Kung Waterfront and Lei Yue Mun were completed in 2003, while those in the Central and Western District will be completed in 2004. Enhancement works include repaving of streets, redesigning street-lighting and erecting directional and information signage. Improvement works for the Stanley Waterfront and the Peak will be carried out in 2004 and 2005, respectively.

The scope of the Tsim Sha Tsui Promenade Beautification Project was expanded to cover the site to be vacated by the relocation of the existing Public Transport Interchange outside the Tsim Sha Tsui Star Ferry Pier. The promenade, stretching from the Cultural Centre Piazza to Tsim Sha Tsui East, will be enhanced with better access, new landscaping and improved lighting and open space. When completed in phases from 2005 to 2009, it will offer a much better place for residents and visitors to enjoy Victoria Harbour. As an advance part of the project, work on the 'Avenue of Stars' project started in June and will be completed in the second quarter of 2004.

Service Quality

To promote high standards of service in shops and restaurants, the HKTB launched the Quality Tourism Services (QTS) Scheme in 1999. It has been widely supported by the tourism industry and has helped to upgrade professionalism and service standards offered to visitors. At year-end, more than 1 100 businesses representing 3 557 outlets had received QTS accreditation.

In December, the QTS Scheme was enhanced to further strengthen Hong Kong's reputation for quality services. The new criteria tighten the entry requirements for applicant merchants, emphasise the provision of clear product information to consumers, improve the complaint handling system of the scheme and reinforce surveillance of participating merchants.

It is essential to upgrade hospitality standards generally to meet visitors' expectations and build for future growth. The Tourism Orientation Programme, a two-year project organised by the HKTB with $40 million in government funding, is designed to enhance Hong Kong's hospitality culture and provide an opportunity for those keen to pursue careers in the tourism industry to gain front-line experience in it. The first year of the programme was successfully completed in mid-2003 with 133 participants graduating as Tourism Hosts. More than 80 per cent of them subsequently joined the industry, and a further 220 people are undergoing training as part of the programme's second year.

The Tourism Commission launched a territory-wide public education campaign entitled 'A Hospitable Hong Kong' in 2001, with young people among the main targets. The campaign continued in 2003. In collaboration with the Hong Kong Federation of Youth Groups, the Tourism Commission set up the Hong Kong Young Ambassador Scheme to groom a cadre of young leaders who can serve as 'ambassadors' to overseas visitors and provide an effective medium through which to spread hospitality messages among young people. During the year, a series of TV announcements was broadcast to promote a hospitality culture among the public.

Facilitation of Visitor Entry

With effect from July 28, 2003, the Mainland authorities have implemented an Individual Visit Scheme in four Guangdong cities (Dongguan, Zhongshan, Jiangmen and Foshan) to allow residents there to visit Hong Kong in a personal capacity. The scheme has been extended to cover Guangzhou, Shenzhen, Zhuhai and Huizhou from August 20, and Beijing and Shanghai from September 1. It will be extended to the whole of Guangdong Province by May 1, 2004. The scheme has been well received, with some 667 000 Mainland visitors coming to Hong Kong under its auspices by year-end.

The Tourism Commission took the lead in coordinating action among various government departments and the tourism industry to draw up measures to cope with the upsurge in Mainland visitors, especially during the National Day 'Golden Week' holiday period in October. The measures adopted demonstrated the city's capability to receive a large number of visitors during the peak holiday season.

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