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Stimulating Tourism, Promoting Hospitality

32.      After a very difficult period in the middle of last year, the tourism sector recovered remarkably well. The number of visitors to Hong Kong reached 15.5 million for the year. This figure, although 6 per cent lower than that for 2002, is still the second highest on record. Much of this recovery was attributable to the continued growth of the Mainland market and the launch of the Individual Visit Scheme. This scheme now covers Beijing, Shanghai and most cities in Guangdong, and will be extended to cover the whole of Guangdong by May this year. This will result in some 100 million Mainlanders becoming eligible to visit Hong Kong under the scheme. The Government will continue its discussions with the Mainland authorities with the aim of expanding the scheme to cover more provinces and cities. The Hong Kong Tourism Board (HKTB) will step up its promotional efforts to boost Hong Kong's image as Asia's premier tourism destination.

33.      A boom in the tourism industry will make the streets of our city more lively. This will improve overall market sentiment, stimulate local consumption, boost growth in related sectors and contribute to the creation of employment opportunities, particularly those for the lower-skilled workforce. I intend to provide additional funding of about $95 million for various tourism promotion and training activities.

34.      The development of the tourism industry depends on a concerted effort from the community. We must preserve the glamour of Hong Kong as a cosmopolitan city and its reputation as a shopping paradise by ensuring that our products are good value for money and can attract people from around the world to come and make their purchases here. We will continue to protect intellectual property rights by cracking down on counterfeit goods. We will also continue to promote a hospitable culture among those working in the tourism sector in particular, and all our citizens in general. Specific initiatives in this respect include a service quality audit in the hotel, travel and transport industries; the expansion of the HKTB's Quality Tourism Services Scheme; and seminars and campaigns to promote awareness of the importance of a hospitable culture.

35.      The Tourism Orientation Programme launched by the HKTB has been very successful in introducing graduates to a career in the tourism industry. Over the past two years, this programme has groomed nearly 300 individuals for a career in the industry. We will extend the programme for two more years in a bid to nurture more talent in future for tourism.

36.      We will carry out a series of studies to formulate a strategy for future tourism development. The studies will cover the potential for developing projects such as spa resort facilities. We will also take forward the priority infrastructure projects on Tung Ping Chau and in Tolo Harbour.

37.      In addition, we will continue to encourage the community to organise activities featuring individual district attractions. Such activities can promote the local community economy and also attract local and foreign visitors.

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2003 | Important notices
Last revision date : 10 March, 2004