The 2016-17 Budget
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Supporting Tourism

26.    Tourism contributes five per cent to our GDP and employs 270 000 people.  It provides plenty of job opportunities.  For some ten years, tourism and other related industries have experienced rapid growth through the support of the Mainland's Individual Visit Scheme and its related policies.  The number of inbound visitors has increased to 60 million, four times that of 2003.  The local tourism industry is facing keen competition as a result of a weakening external economy, devaluation of currencies of neighbouring places and their relaxation of visa requirements for Mainland tourists since last year.  This, coupled with the "one trip per week" measure for Shenzhen residents, has caused a drop in visitor arrivals.

27.    Apart from external factors, some recent incidents in Hong Kong are causing concern.  These include a handful of people choosing to express their views and political demands using irrational and uncivilised tactics, such as hurling abuses at visitors and kicking their suitcases.  Furthermore, problems arising from coerced shopping have been plaguing the tourism sector.

28.    These destructive acts have not only damaged the economy, but have also severely tarnished Hong Kong's reputation as a hospitality city internationally.  While some have claimed that the acts were committed out of concern for "local" interests, their actions are in fact not the kind of behaviour that reflects love for Hong Kong.  If they truly care about the development of Hong Kong, they should by no means exercise their right to freedom of expression at the expense of peace in our society and livelihood of innocent citizens.

29.    The tourism industry has entered a period of consolidation.  In view of the changing mix and spending pattern of visitors, we need to review the development strategy of our tourism industry.  Other than seeking growth in visitor numbers, we should move towards diversified and quality-driven high value-added services, with a view to attracting more high-spending overnight visitors to Hong Kong.

30.    In light of this new situation, I shall launch short, medium and long-term measures to reduce the industry's costs of operation and enhance Hong Kong's attractiveness and competitiveness.  I shall introduce three short-term measures, costing a total of $140 million, for related trades and industries –

(a) waive the licence fees for 1 800 travel agents for one year;
(b) waive the licence fees for 2 000 hotels and guesthouses for one year; and
(c) waive the licence fees for restaurants and hawkers and fees for restricted food permits for one year, benefiting 27 000 restaurants and operators.

31.    In the medium term, I shall allocate $240 million for Government and the industry to jointly launch five measures –

(a) expand the scale of major events to be held this year, including holding the Formula E Championship for the first time, expanding the venue for the Hong Kong Wine and Dine Festival with more featured themes, extending the race of the Hong Kong Cyclothon to 50 kilometres to attract more overseas cyclists, staging additional Pulse 3D Light Shows at the Hong Kong Cultural Centre, and stepping up publicity for international sports events such as the Rugby Sevens, the tennis open tournament and the golf open tournament;
(b) through the Hong Kong Tourism Board (HKTB), re-package Hong Kong's tourism image with new promotional videos, launch a new round of publicity for short-haul markets, and step up publicity in the Mainland for quality and honest tours;
(c) through the HKTB, assist the industry to open up new visitor sources through various means, including implementation of the matching fund for promoting tourist attractions, promotion of shopping and spending, promotion of MICE (Meetings, Incentive Travels, Conventions and Exhibitions) tourism and "fly-cruise" tours, as well as waiving of local traders' participation fees for overseas promotion fairs;

(d) through the Travel Industry Council of Hong Kong, subsidise small and medium-sized travel agents, on a matching basis, to make use of information technology (IT) so as to enhance the competitiveness of the industry; and
(e) continue to promote Hong Kong's natural scenery as well as our unique history and culture, including enriching the contents of the Dr Sun Yat-sen Historical Trail with the theme of "Art across Time", in tune with PMQ and the former Central Police Station Compound which will open this year.

32.    In the long run, we shall upgrade our tourism infrastructure.  Hong Kong Disneyland will open in 2016 and 2017 respectively a new themed area based on Marvel's Iron Man franchise and a new hotel with a theme dedicated to the spirit of exploration.  Government will continue to discuss with the Walt Disney Company the overall development of the theme park.  The first hotel in Ocean Park and the Water World in Tai Shue Wan are also scheduled for completion in 2017 and 2018 respectively.  Government will continue preparatory work for the tourism projects in Kai Tak and Lantau.  The design work for the conference facilities above the proposed Exhibition Station of the Shatin to Central Link is underway.

33.    We shall embark on a pilot scheme on food trucks this year.  The concept has attracted wide interest from the community.  I shall increase the number of designated spaces for the food trucks to 16.  The initiative will enhance the appeal of our tourist attractions and enrich the local food culture.


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Last revision date : 24 February 2016