The Hong Kong government will allocate HK$290 million (US$37.4 million) for initiatives aimed at rebuilding investor confidence and helping the sectors affected by the Occupy street protests last year, Financial Secretary John Tsang said in his budget speech Wednesday.
“We need to rebuild international investors’ and tourists’ confidence in Hong Kong and uplift our international image,” Tsang said.
In line with the mission, the Hong Kong Tourism Board will get an additional HK$80 million in the 2015-16 financial year to step up its promotional activities, while the government Information Services Department will see its outlay go up by US$26 million.
The amount will mainly be used for running overseas promotions, organizing shopping festivals, offering merchandise concessions, and for launching publicity campaigns.
Meanwhile, to provide relief to businesses affected by the 2014 street blockades, the government will waive the license fees for 1,800 travel agents and 2,000 hotels and guesthouses for six months.
License fee will also be waived for 26,000 restaurants and hawkers for six months, as well as the fee for restricted food permits.
In other measures, the fees for vehicle examination will be waived once for the renewal of vehicle licenses of public vehicles, including taxis, light buses and buses within a year.
Tsang criticized the 79-day Occupy campaign during his speech Wednesday, saying the movement had affected tourism, hotel, catering, retail and transport industries to varying degrees.
Hong Kong people should narrow their differences and pursue consensus with patience and pragmatism, he said, warning that prolonged bickering will only bog down the city’s development.
“Behind and beyond material fulfillment, the people of this city, our younger generations in particular, are hungering for spiritual contentment. This is what a mature society should manifest, and this is a change that needs to be addressed and dealt with,” Tsang said in his closing remarks.
He added that conflicts should be resolved through dialogue rather than confrontation.
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