The 2017-18 Budget
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Budget Speech


108.    The tourism industry, which makes up five per cent of GDP and employs about 270 000 people, has been driving the growth of other related industries including retail, hotel and catering industries, and contributing significantly to Hong Kong's economy.  Over the past decade, the number of visitor arrivals has more than doubled from 25 million in 2006 to over 56 million in 2016, making Hong Kong one of the most popular cities in the world in terms of visitor arrivals.

109.    The past year was a period of consolidation for the tourism industry.  We adjusted our tourism development strategy to emphasise diversification and attracting high-yield overnight visitors.  Our objective is to pursue a balanced, healthy and long-term development of the tourism industry.  Although total visitor arrivals last year recorded a decline of 4.5 per cent owing to a drop in the number of Mainland visitors, we have seen a rebound of visitor arrivals in recent months.  The number of non-Mainland visitors, in particular those from Southeast Asia, has registered growth for several consecutive quarters.  Moreover, the number of overnight visitor arrivals for Meetings, Incentive Travels, Conventions and Exhibitions (MICE) also grew by 9.9 per cent in the past year.  As regards cruise tourism, the number of ship calls at the Kai Tak Cruise Terminal last year was close to 100, an increase of around 70 per cent as compared with 2015.  The number of ship calls is estimated to further rise to about 200 this year.  The cruise passenger throughput at the Kai Tak Cruise Terminal last year also reached about 420 000, representing an increase of around 60 per cent as compared with 2015.

Support Measures

110.    While the situation in the tourism industry has become more stable, the outlook for the coming year remains challenging.  Taking into account the hardship faced by the related trades and industries, I will introduce three short-term measures to waive licence fees amounting to $137 million–

(a) waive the licence fees for 1 800 travel agents for one year;
(b) waive the licence fees for over 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.

Enhancing Hong Kong's Tourism Appeal

111.    It was reiterated in this year's Policy Address that the Government would continue to attract more high-yield overnight visitors.  In line with this policy direction, we will support the tourism industry by allocating an additional sum of $243 million in 2017-18 for the following five areas of work–

(a) supporting light shows, home-grown mega events and continuation of efforts to attract more small-and-medium-sized MICE events to Hong Kong;
(b) promoting further the diversification of tourism products by inviting the Hong Kong Tourism Board (HKTB) to provide funding support to activity organisers and the tourism sector for the launch of tourism projects with local characteristics and green tourism products respectively, with a view to encouraging the development of a greater variety of tourism products to attract more visitors to Hong Kong;
(c) stepping up our efforts to attract more high-spending visitors by implementing a scheme targeting transit passengers and overnight visitors in Hong Kong through the HKTB.  We will work with local airlines, tourist attractions, hotels and the tourism sector to provide promotional offers to transit passengers or overnight visitors.  Besides, the Government will provide funding support for the trade to promote cruise tourism.  Such efforts include continuing to promote "fly-cruise" tours and collaborating with cruise lines to develop more source markets and products for cruise tourism;
(d) enhancing Hong Kong's appeal as a tourist destination.  Through the HKTB, we will continue our publicity in the Mainland to promote the quality and honest image of Hong Kong's tourism and strengthen our efforts to publicise in overseas markets the mega events to be held in Hong Kong this year, so as to attract more Mainland and overseas visitors to Hong Kong; and
(e) providing funding support for the training of members of the tourism industry through the Travel Industry Council of Hong Kong to enhance service quality of the industry, and continue to implement the matching fund for promoting tourist attractions as well as waive local traders' participation fees for overseas promotional fairs.



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Last revision date : 22 February 2017