The Hong Kong Tourism Board (HKTB) and Hong Kong Economic and Trade Office held a joint event last Friday (Feb. 8) at Toronto’s Globe and Mail Centre in celebration of the new lunar year, the Year of the Pig.
Michael Lim, director for Canada, Central and South Americas at the Hong Kong Tourism Board, said the event was held in appreciation of its trade partners and to share updates for what’s to come in 2019.
“We had a terrific year internationally,” Lim told PAX, adding that the HKTB will be deploying “quite a few” new campaigns from the B2B and B2C side of things this upcoming year.
Canadian arrivals to Hong Kong are up
More than 377,990 Canadians arrived in Hong Kong last year, representing a 2.1 per cent increase over the previous year, Lim said, citing an increase in seat capacity on behalf of its airline partners as one of the driving reasons for the growth.
“We foresee the possibility of even more capacity,” Lim told PAX, noting the importance of working with trade partners to ensure that all seats to Hong Kong are filled.
Total visitor arrivals for Hong Kong in 2018 neared 65.15 million, an increase of 11.4 per cent year on year, the HKTB stated in a recently released report.
Overnight arrivals from long-haul markets rose 2.8 per cent, mainly due to increased seat capacity on flights connecting Hong Kong with various markets and the stable US economy, the HKTB stated.
Moreover, overnight arrivals from the Mainland increased 7.4 per cent, which was propelled by the opening of the Hong Kong section of the Guangzhou–Shenzhen–Hong Kong Express Rail Link and the Hong Kong–Zhuhai–Macao Bridge.
“It’s taken another chapter in tourism for us,” Lim said of the new 55-kilometre bridge, which opened last year and is now considered the longest sea crossing link on earth.
Multi-destination packages and partnerships with nearby destinations in Asia, such as Taiwan, will play an important role in the HKTB’s strategy this year, especially given that 90 per cent of Canadians who travel to Hong Kong are on a multi-destination itinerary, Lim said.
For years, the HKTB has maintained successful working relationships with the China National Tourism Office, the Tourism Authority of Thailand, Taiwan Tourism and, most recently, Visit Vietnam.
“What we’re saying is that Hong Kong is the gateway to the Belt Road and also to Asia, so our position is to make sure that every Canadian stops in Hong Kong and enjoys the destination before or after they go beyond,” Lim told PAX.
Air Canada, which flies to many major cities in Asia, shares that sentiment.
“Our Hong Market is doing very well. The demand is very good,” Rocky Lo, senior director, Asia revenue management & sales with Air Canada told PAX.
Lo said that’s it common for its passengers – “especially the younger generation” – to visit Hong Kong and then continue their itinerary into other Asia cities.
“They normally stay more than a week and they want to see a lot of things,” Lo told PAX. “The flexibility for them to be able to visit multiple destinations during one trip really opens up a lot of opportunities for us.”
Air Canada’s Toronto-Hong Kong service operates on a Boeing 777-300, and this year, the airline’s Canada to Hong Kong service will see some significant enchantments, including a new inflight system onboard and WiFi on its wide-body aircrafts, Lo said.
Travel advisors are invited to become a Hong Kong specialist by visiting the HKTB’s training portal here.
“This is a great introduction course,” Mr. Lim said. “It’s online, interactive, and [can be taken at] their own pace. [Travel agents] can learn a lot about what Hong Kong has to offer and then be very comfortable with selling the destination to their customers.”
HKTB also has incentives and rewards for travel agents who complete the program and then later decide to travel to Hong Kong.
“We have a lot of added value that they can take advantage of, such as complimentary tours, when they visit themselves,” Lim said.
For the latest in tourism news and offerings, visit discoverhongkong.com.
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