The Hong Kong Tourism Board welcomed travel partners to Chinese New Year celebrations last night, marked with a look back on 2014 and a glimpse into the year ahead.
The event wouldn’t be complete without an appropriate New Year meal, and the HKTB welcomed no less than three renowned chefs to grace the event – ‘Demon Chef’ Alvin Leung, Toronto’s Eric Chong (who trained under Leung as the first Master Chef Canada champion) and Wai Lai Hung, a Michelin-starred chef who crafted and prepared the menu for the event.
Michael Lim, HKTB’s director – Canada, told PAX that Canadian arrivals to Hong Kong increased slightly for 2014, with 354,408 travellers representing a 0.1 per cent growth over 2013. Hong Kong’s total international arrivals last year were 60.8 million visitors, Lim said, up 12 per cent from the previous year.
“It’s a compact destination with everything within an hour’s reach,” Lim said of Hong Kong’s allure to Canadian travellers. “If you’re a city person, everything is there 24/7, but within an hour, there’s over 200 islands, so you can see a totally different side of Hong Kong.”
For 2015, the HKTB will promote a new campaign called My Time For, which showcases the various sides of Hong Kong to prospective travellers by highlighting themes such as food, sports, shopping, the outdoors, the arts and culture through the eyes of local experts, including Chef Leung. These experiences are also accessible through a mobile app which allows travellers to learn about these various aspects and to share them with others. The campaign will roll out in Canada through print, digital and social media promotion, Lim said.
“We want our visitors to know, see, and feel that a trip to Hong Kong doesn’t disappoint,” Lim said.
According to Lim, in order to meet increased travel demand, 14 new hotels will open by year’s end, contributing to the more than 260 properties making up Hong Kong’s approximately 75,000 hotel rooms. Lim added that Disney, which also operates a theme park in Hong Kong, recently announced its third hotel for the destination.
With visitors to Asia often venturing to more than one destination during their trip, Lim said the HKTB is actively promoting its partnerships with its nearby counterparts, with joint campaigns such as ‘Two Wonders, One Trip’ with the China National Tourism Office and ‘Energize in Hong Kong, Revitalize in Thailand’ with the Tourism Authority of Thailand.
For the travel trade, the HKTB’s new PartnerNet website will connect agents and Hong Kong suppliers directly in a B2B e-marketplace. Lim added that travel professionals looking to augment their knowledge of the destination can also visit Hong Kong Specialist, an online training program for agents of all experience levels which has seen more than 240 graduates.