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New blueprint for Hong Kong’s tourism industry ‘won’t be ready until second half of year’

by Staff

A new government blueprint for Hong Kong’s tourism industry will not be ready until the second half of the year, sources have said, as the sector’s advisory committee convened for the first time to identify issues with the current strategy.

An insider familiar with the matter told the Post the new Tourism Strategy Committee, which held its first meeting on Monday, was set to convene two more times this year before the “Development Blueprint for Hong Kong’s Tourism Industry 2.0” could be finalised.

“[Monday’s] meeting mainly discussed larger strategies to help Hong Kong become a popular tourist destination. The details won’t come until the next meeting,” the source said.

“So the actual blueprint won’t be available until the end of the year or at least the second half of 2024.”

Tourists gather in Tsim Sha Tsui. Hong Kong’s current tourism sector blueprint was released in 2017 and a member of the new strategy committee says recent developments need to be addressed. Photo: Sam Tsang

Nightlife tycoon and committee member Allan Zeman said the Tourism Board gave a presentation on the latest figures for the industry, with representatives from the city’s flag carrier Cathay Pacific Airways, Ocean Park and Disneyland Resort among those present.

Zeman added that he could not confirm when the next blueprint would be available, saying the government needed time to “digest” all the information.

“There were a lot of suggestions,” he said. “I think the government has to look at everything and see what we need to put it together.

“It’s better if they do it properly, rather than just rushing and making it the wrong thing.”

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Jonathan Leung Chun, a catering sector committee member tasked with advising authorities on what to put in the next blueprint, said the general direction of the coming scheme remained unchanged from the first one in 2017, although tweaks would be made to address fresh issues.

“Our economic environment is different [from 2017],” he said. “There are also some political factors and technological advances, as well as tourist behavioural patterns following the pandemic.

“Our response to these changes and current challenges will be reflected in 2.0.”

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The coming blueprint was announced in Chief Executive John Lee Ka-chiu’s policy address last October.

The original vision set out long-term strategies for the city, including diversifying the source market with a focus on high spenders and overnight visitors, developing more products and smart tourism, and upgrading service quality.

Hong Kong’s tourism industry reported slower-than-expected recovery following the Covid-19 pandemic, with the retail sector singling out the changing spending habits of mainland Chinese tourists amid a slump in China’s economy and growing demand for cultural experiences rather than just shopping.

Several tourism-related incidents including public transport hiccups at the Kai Tak Cruise Terminal in August, and mainland passengers getting stranded at border checkpoints as they returned home from New Year’s Eve celebrations in Hong Kong also renewed calls for better hospitality arrangements.

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