Hong Kong’s struggling tourism industry is about to get a comprehensive development plan, aimed at creating new attractions and offering better protection for tourists, according to commerce minister Edward Yau Tang-wah.
Yau gave no details of the plan, but the city’s tourism workers called for more resources, more industry supervision and better infrastructure ahead of Chief Executive Carrie Lam Cheng Yuet-ngor’s maiden policy address, due on Wednesday.
He also said the bureau would step up scrutiny of businesses integral to the tourism industry, especially airlines. That pledge followed Hong Kong Express’s abrupt cancellations last months of 18 flights between October 1 and 8. That debacle affected thousands of passengers’ travel plans for the “golden week” of public holidays.
Until about three years ago, tourism had been a key driver of Hong Kong’s economy for a decade, fuelled by a huge influx of mainland tourists. The sector still employs more than 280,000 people.
The slump appears to have bottomed out, with tourist numbers for the first eight months of 2017 up 1.9% on the same period the year before.
Travel Industry Council executive director Joseph Tung Yao-chung said he hoped Lam would give more money to his organization’s training fund, aimed at equipping the city’s traditional travel agencies with modern technology.
Meanwhile, the number of visitors to the city during the first five days of the “golden week” was underwhelming, growing only 0.7% on last year, according to figures from the Immigration Department.
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