Short-haul breaks are preferred in post-pandemic tourism: HKTB

April 27, 2020 08:20
Hong Kong Tourism Board Chairman YK Pang (left) and Executive Director Dane Cheng (right) provide the local travel trade with updates on tourism development and introduce the HKTB’s upcoming plan. Photo: Hong Kong Tourism Board

The coronavirus pandemic has brought about a devastating impact on the global tourism industry, with the resulting travel restrictions as well as slump in demand.

The Hong Kong Tourism Board (HKTB) has released its post-pandemic outlook, along with a recovery plan for the tourism industry, one of the sectors most strongly hit by the coronavirus crisis.

“The tourism landscape will be reshaped. In the post-pandemic world, we will see a shift in preference and behaviour among travellers,” said YK Pang, chairman of the tourism board, “ It is in fact an ideal time for us to review and rethink Hong Kong’s position in the global tourism market and elevate service standard.”

In a web conference attended by nearly 1,500 representatives from travel, retail, and other industries, Pang said he foresees a new tourism landscape, such as a shift in preference in short-haul breaks and shorter itineraries.

“Domestic travel will be the major preference shortly after the pandemic, and outbound travel will resume soon after. In Japan, Korea and Taiwan, the young and middle-aged segments will be the most eager to travel.”

On the long-haul markets, he expects they would take a longer time to recover, as outbound travel may resume in the last quarter of this year at the earliest, while “ethnic Asian” visitors are expected to be the first to visit Hong Kong after the pandemic.

Hong Kong's major tourist market has been Mainland China. However, considering the outbreak’s impact on the economy, Pang expects consumers in mainland will become “more price-conscious and pursue value-for-money holidays,” with a greater emphasis on health and nature elements in future trips.

“Wellness-themed trips will become a new trend,” Pang foresees in general that the public health conditions of destinations, as well as the hygiene standards of transportations, hotels and other tourism facilities, will become a top priority for travellers.

As the coronavirus outbreak in the city has slightly eased recently, the tourism board is mapping out the long-term development strategy for the industry.

Dane Cheng, executive director at HKTB, said there will be a recovery plan to be launched within the first phase of HKTB’s plan to reinvigorate Hong Kong’s tourism, followed by a promotion targeting the local market, by encouraging locals to “rediscover different neighbourhoods and community cultures” across the city.

It will also launch tactical promotions with the trade in selected markets based on the developments of individual markets, with an aim to stimulate people’s interest to visit the city.

As for the phase three of HKTB’s plan, Cheng noted that the board will launch mega events and a new tourism brand campaign, to rebuild Hong Kong’s tourism image.

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