HKTB brings new world-class attractions
Puneet Kumar, Director, South Asia & Middle East, Hong Kong Tourism Board (HKTB) reveals the board's strategy in reviving the tourism in the city. He also sheds light on the upcoming world-class attractions, support to hospitality industry and their relation with Indian market
A vibrant city that has the world’s largest number of skyscrapers and the third largest number of high-rise buildings in the world, Hong Kong has a lot to offer to tourists through its deep-rooted culture and history. The place has an energy and vibe that is hard to miss. One can explore something new and unique at every corner, be it an ancient temple or fine art. Not limited as a glamorous city, Hong Kong features beautiful beaches, islands, mountains, hiking trails, and traditional fishing villages.
While we all are well-informed about the aftermath of the deadly outspread of coronavirus, BW HOTELIER got in touch with Puneet Kumar, Director, South Asia & Middle East, Hong Kong Tourism Board (HKTB) to unfold the strategies adopted to mitigate the unprecedented challenges the pandemic brought along with it.
HKTB has laid a robust yet agile three stage engagement strategy for the local and overseas markets:
Stage 1: Holiday At Home campaign promoting year-round offers to drive local tourism and encourage people in Hong Kong to rediscover their city’s hidden gems and unique experiences.
Stage 2: Ready to launch Open House Hong Kong hospitality campaign with travel offers and in-town experiences once essential inbound travel resume.
Stage 3: Launch brand new campaign to retell HK stories once travel fully resumes.
To welcome overseas visitors to Hong Kong, Kumar shares that the HKTB has launched ‘Anti-epidemic Hygiene Measures Certification Scheme’ in partnership with the Hong Kong Quality Assurance Agency (HKQAA). “Under this scheme, the tourism industry and related sectors will follow a standardised hygiene protocol to assure visitors of a safe and healthy stay, helping us establish a healthy and safe tourism image of Hong Kong and bolsters visitors’ confidence. More than 2,500 organisations participated to strengthen public and visitor confidence in out-of-home consumption and travel,” informs Kumar.
Shing Mun Reservoir
HONG KONG AND INDIA
While the travel has taken a long pause between India and Hong Kong due to the pandemic, HKTB utilised this time to keep its prospects, friends in media, corporate clients and trade partners updated and engaged with Hong Kong. “India is one of the important emerging source markets for visitors into HK. The HKTB continues to stay invested in India’s outbound travel growth story for over two decades now. Over the years, Hong Kong has attracted different segments of Indian leisure, meetings and incentive groups and fly-cruise travellers,” he says.
HKTB launched 360 Hong Kong Moments, a bouquet of VR-enabled video stories, to showcase the myriad experiences of Hong Kong. The tourism board took creative initiatives such as experiential virtual tours during HK Wine & Dine Festival, Chinese New Year and Wellness tour of Peng Chau Island to give entertaining experience. “We updated and refreshed destination knowledge for our travel trade partners through multiple webinars that reached over 1,900 travel professionals in 2020-21,” Kumar shares.
SUPPORT TO HOSPITALITY INDUSTRY
The hospitality sector is one of the most important elements of the travel and tourism industry. This sector has been brought to its knees due to the pandemic. To fight these unbearing challenges, HKTB launched the Anti-epidemic Hygiene Measures Certification Scheme to provide unified guidelines on hygiene and anti-epidemic measures for tourism-related industries. Since the outbreak, the HKTB has launched multiple campaigns to encourage local residents to be a tourist of their own city and rediscover the beauty of Hong Kong with a new perspective. Kumar informs, “For instance, the ‘Holiday at Home’ campaign provided a wealth of information on travelling around Hong Kong, including dining, shopping and entertainment offers from across the territory. The ‘Spend-to-Redeem Free Tours’ programme gave residents free local tours after spending a fixed amount at retail and dining outlets in Hong Kong, while the ‘Free Tours Lucky Draw’ offers local tours as a reward to vaccinated Hong Kong residents to also encourage vaccination. The ‘Staycation Delight’ programme let local residents redeem their receipts from physical retail or dining outlets in Hong Kong for discount on a hotel staycation package.”
These campaigns and programmes not only drive local consumption and travel, they give the tourism and related trade an opportunity to warm up in preparation for the return of visitors, informs Kumar, adding, “We hope these campaigns could rebuild the city’s vibrant atmosphere and give the world a positive impression so that visitors will feel confident about coming to Hong Kong again.”
UPCOMING WORLD-CLASS ATTRACTIONS
As a part of its strategic approach, HKTB has thoughtfully curated a whole suite of rejuvenated tourism offerings such as iconic Victoria Harbour front, internationalised dining and shopping, wellness and green great outdoors, uniquely intangible city culture and exciting art scene, to pleasantly surprise its overseas visitors. Hong Kong Disneyland has expanded attractions and experiences, together with the new Castle of Magical Dreams, new daytime shows and night time spectacular to appeal tourists.
Ocean Park Hong Kong is Asia’s first and only year-round, all-weather seaside water park. It has been created for adventurers of all kinds to discover the five zones, each filled with its own unique spirit of fun and adventure. Within these five zones, there are 27 outdoor and indoor attractions – HK’s first ever surf ride, nine dynamic water slides to several areas specially designed for adventure seekers. West Kowloon neighbourhood promotion will be launched under Hong Kong Neighbourhoods campaign tied in with the opening of M+ Museum, the visual culture venue in late 2021. The West Kowloon Cultural District and its surrounding area offer an authentic local living culture and exhilarating art scene that would interest our overseas visitors.
HKTB encourages visitors to explore the beauty of Hong Kong through the art scene which remains vibrant throughout the year with in-town happenings and offer an immersive experience of the city. HKTB curated six unique art itineraries that ticks off all the routes for an artful rediscovery of Hong Kong. Some of the point of interests covered are:
The eight-stop Arts by the iconic Victoria Harbour itinerary offers interesting art and cultural hubs along the harbour including Hong Kong Arts Centre (HKAC), Ani-com Park@Harbour“Fun”, Wan Chai Waterfront Promenade, Hong Kong Cultural Centre, Hong Kong Museum of Art (HKMoA), Avenue of Stars, Xiqu Centre, West Kowloon Cultural District (WKCD). “The artsiest venues in Wong Chuk Hang has in recent times gained a reputation as one of the city’s most happening districts. Beyond the large factory facades that litter this neighbourhood are hidden cafes, world-class galleries, and art studios. Booming with creativity, these places form a thriving community that adds to Wong Chuk Hang’s distinctive charm,” Kumar puts in.
Hong Kong offers a variety of landscapes and scenic vistas that rarely match in such a compact city, ranging from sandy beaches and rocky foreshores to open grasslands and mountain ranges. Kumar says, “Hong Kong is greener than people expect, and we want to surprise our destination fans, friends in media, trade partners and visitors with our new initiatives such as Autonomous Sensory Meridian Response (ASMR) video series on nature in Hong Kong and experiential virtual tours under the Great Outdoors Hong Kong campaign to promote the hidden gems kept in the mountains and the sea. We want to encourage our visitors to rediscover Hong Kong through its thriving wellness scene, number of hiking trails, outlying islands, nature based sightseeing places and soft adventure outdoor sports available in summer and winter season.”
To further tickle the senses of tourists, the ASMR videos feature 30-second snapshots of dreamy environmental acoustics heard in far-flung corners of the city. The videos are designed to stimulate the senses and to heighten one’s sensitivity to the harmonic countryside symphonies just a stone’s throw from the city. “A series of videos-for-beginners will also showcase 13 seasonal routes, covering hiking and sightseeing destinations, island-hopping itineraries, and water sports experiences, giving visitors a major travel goal and new ideas for an immersive itinerary,” Kumar concludes.
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