Hong Kong targets Gulf with key initiatives

Bustling Hong Kong is a destination in its own right.

THE number of GCC travellers visiting Hong Kong has grown 49 per cent in recent years and, recognising the importance of the Middle Eastern market, Hong Kong Tourism Board (HKTB) is planning two major initiatives this year to keep the numbers increasing.

The Hong Kong Specialist programme is to be relaunched enabling travel agents to undertake an online course aimed at gaining an in-depth knowledge of the destination leading to a tourism board recognised certification as well as increased selling opportunities.

The next few months will also see the authority carrying out a trade mission across the region. The initiative, which will feature up to 22 of Hong Kong’s leading tourism partners, such as destination management companies and Disney,  will be led personally by Patrick Kwok, the tourism board’s general manager for business development, illustrating the importance placed on the region.

And it will be preceded by a series of workshops taking place across the region giving trade professionals another opportunity to learn about the destination and what is on offer.

Further workshops will take place later in the year in Kuwait, Qatar and Oman.

HKTB spokesman Trevor Owen said: “We want to provide education and provoke greater awareness of Hong Kong as both a destination in its own right and also the basis for a two-centre holiday, particularly with Emirates now flying to Hong Kong via Thailand,  Oman Air and its code share with Malaysia Airlines and the feed on points of Cathay Pacific which is launching direct flights out of Abu Dhabi in June 2011. Hong Kong has a variety of wonderful attractions and is ideally centrally located to be either a second destination for those travelling to other areas in Southeast Asia. It is also developing as a hub for those travelling to mainland China and on to Australia with Hong Kong as the perfect stopping-off point.

“The last year for which figures are currently available saw an increase of 49 per cent in arrivals from the GCC which goes to show what an extremely important market this region is for us.”