The Hong Kong government has set up a HK$10 million fund to help the tourism industry in overseas marketing activities amid a slump in visitor arrivals.
The fund will be available for promotional programs jointly set up by hotels, airlines and travel companies, the Hong Kong Economic Journal reported Wednesday. Applications can be submitted until Oct. 14.
Each program can be granted a subsidy of HK$100,000 to HK$2 million, subject to the approval of the Hong Kong Tourism Board.
Gregory So, Secretary for Commerce and Economic Development, said the local tourism industry is going through a restructuring phase, noting that factors contributing to the slump include a slowdown in the global economy, relaxation of visa policies by several countries, local activities deemed hostile to mainland travelers, and a substantial depreciation of Asian currencies against the Chinese renminbi and the Hong Kong dollar.
The government earmarked another HK$80 million earlier this year to boost the retail and consumption sector.
The number of non-mainland visitors to the city dropped 3.4 percent in the first eight months from the same period last year, while the number of mainland tourists edged up 0.8 percent.
Tourist arrivals increased to 60.8 million last year from 21.18 billion in 2004, although authorities expected the number to record a decline this year.
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