Hong Kong 2003
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Hong Kong Tourism Board

The HKTB is a subvented organisation responsible for marketing and promoting Hong Kong internationally as a destination for leisure and business travel. With a board of 20 non-executive members drawn from the local community, and representing all major sectors of the tourism and related trades, it operates through a Head Office in Hong Kong, 13 world-wide offices and seven representative offices.

Through its various marketing activities, the HKTB strives to reinforce Hong Kong's standing as a world-class city and the most preferred tourism destination in Asia. It aims not only to increase the number of visitors to Hong Kong, but also to enhance their experience and satisfaction when they arrive and during their stay.

The HKTB undertakes extensive market research and monitoring to assess industry trends, perceptions of Hong Kong in the overseas markets and feedback from departing visitors. The board shares this data with the Government and its tourism industry partners to enable visitor facilities, products and services to be planned most effectively and the industry to capitalise on new business opportunities.

A wide range of marketing strategies is employed to target different market segments world-wide. In 2003, the HKTB hosted 1 350 international media visitors and over 2 000 travel trade representatives on familiarisation trips.

Major travel agents and wholesalers are kept informed of the latest tourism information and given assistance to develop attractive travel packages. To add value to travel itineraries and provide new experiences for visitors, 16 new local tour products were introduced or repackaged during the year, with a number of them targeted at individual travellers from the Mainland or elsewhere. The HKTB also works with other tourism offices in the Mainland and around Asia to promote visits to Hong Kong as part of multi-destination itineraries.

Information Network

In 2003, the HKTB helped over 1.1 million visitors, either directly through its Visitor Information and Services Centres or by responding to enquiries received by mail, over the Internet, through its Visitor Hotline or at information counters set up at major international conventions and exhibitions. About 11.6 million pieces of HKTB literature were distributed during the year by the board and its partner organisations.

The discoverhongkong.com consumer website now receives over seven million page views a month. The HKTB also maintains a specialised website, PartnerNet, to provide information to the local and international travel trade.

To cater for the growth in Mainland visitor arrivals, a new Visitor Information and Services Centre was opened at the Lo Wu boundary crossing in October. This supplements the existing HKTB information centres in Central on Hong Kong Island, at Tsim Sha Tsui in Kowloon and at Hong Kong International Airport. Self-service information racks are also provided at some 150 other entry points, hotels, shopping centres and tourist attractions.


Following the SARS outbreak, the HKTB launched a major Global Tourism Revival Campaign in late June, under the aegis of the Government's Economic Relaunch Campaign.

The campaign adopted a two-stage approach. The first phase was designed to attract visitors back to Hong Kong through generous travel offers and special welcome privileges, to help local businesses achieve a swift recovery. The second phase focused on sustaining long-term growth and reinforcing Hong Kong's destination image through a series of spectacular mega events and a new global advertising campaign.

Phase 1 took the form of a two-month promotion from mid-July to mid-September, entitled Hong Kong Welcomes You! With extensive support from the airline and hotel industries, the HKTB and its travel trade partners were able to launch a wide range of consumer promotions world-wide, and brought over 580 media and 1 930 trade representatives to Hong Kong on Seeing is Believing familiarisation visits. At the same time, some 1 360 local travel trade members joined overseas market visits and roadshows organised by the HKTB. The highlight of the Hong Kong Welcomes You! promotion was a special 'Welcome Day' on August 17 with more than 3 500 VIP guests coming from around the world to attend a series of events, including the launch of the Strato-Fantasia multimedia show on the Wan Chai waterfront. These activities generated positive international publicity.

Phase 2 began in mid-September with the launch of a new global advertising campaign on the theme Hong Kong — Live it, Love it! The campaign is designed to broaden and revitalise Hong Kong's image by showing the depth and diversity of attractions that the city offers beyond its reputation for shopping and dining. The campaign was rolled out across 16 key markets world-wide, spearheaded by a television commercial featuring international film star Jackie Chan, Hong Kong's official Tourism Ambassador. The HKTB also staged a series of themed mega events, including the Mid-Autumn Lantern Celebration, the Hong Kong International Musical Fireworks Competition and the Hong Kong WinterFest during the second half of 2003.

A number of special initiatives were taken in response to the launching by the Mainland authorities of the Individual Visit Scheme for visitors from designated Mainland cities. These included briefings for the travel trade in these cities and joint promotions with travel agents and local media. The HKTB also encouraged local tour operators to develop new itineraries targeted at individual travellers. It also stepped up its 'Meet and Greet' services and distribution of visitor information at border points.

Convention and Exhibition Travel

To attract leading international events, the HKTB continues to provide comprehensive support services to organisations planning to stage major events in the city.

Although a number of conventions and exhibitions in the second quarter of 2003 were postponed due to the SARS outbreak, many were simply rescheduled to later in 2003 or 2004. So far, more than 120 international conferences and exhibitions have been scheduled between 2004 and 2010.

Hong Kong is an ideal meeting point for companies wishing to do international business with companies from the Mainland. Continued growth is anticipated in this high-yield sector with China's accession to the World Trade Organisation and Hong Kong's trading advantages under the Mainland/Hong Kong Closer Economic Partnership Arrangement. The opening of the new AsiaWorld-Expo exhibition centre at the airport in 2006 will strengthen Hong Kong's attractiveness to host major events.

Cruise Travel

Hong Kong is becoming an increasingly popular centre for cruise travel. Several cruise liners are home based and provide the opportunity for the HKTB and its trade partners to market Hong Kong as a fly-cruise centre, while many international cruise liners make annual stopovers in Hong Kong.

Following the recommendations of a cruise marketing study conducted in 2002, a joint public and private sector Cruise Forum was convened to share market intelligence, expand cooperation between the various parties and promote Hong Kong as a cruise destination. In early 2003, Hong Kong hosted a visit by 27 leading international cruise executives to view the city's cruise facilities, discuss cooperation with local partners and meet government officials.

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