Hong Kong Holds First FAM Trip, Launches Trio of Tourism Strategies

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Hong Kong Holds First FAM Trip, Launches Trio of Tourism Strategies

Hong Kong's first FAM trip for SEA delegates following the relaxation of travel restrictions. (photo courtesy of Hong Kong Tourism Board)

Hong Kong seems to have determined that it’s finally time to bring back foreign tourism, following nearly three years of adhering to some of the world’s strictest pandemic-related travel restrictions.

The Hong Kong Tourism Board (HKTB) has revealed that it recently held its first mega familiarization trip for the Southwest Asia (SEA) tourism market as part of renewed efforts to lure back international visitors.

The five-day, four-night FAM trip included roughly 60 SEA travel trade representatives from countries like Thailand, Malaysia, Indonesia, the Philippines and Singapore. Recent figures on visitor arrivals reveal that SEA travelers are forming the first groups to return to Hong Kong.

This SEA delegation had the distinction of being the first “post-pandemic” inbound traveler group to fully experience the Chinese Special Administration Region’s (SAR) new tourism offerings and special winter festivities.

At the end of September, Hong Kong officially ended the quarantine requirement and continues to take gradual steps toward total reopening, despite having followed China’s ‘Zero-COVID’ model up to that point.

Only yesterday, Hong Kong’s government discontinued its so-called ‘Amber Code Arrangement’, which restricted visitors from entering various types of premises in the city. The ‘Vaccine Pass’ program, remains in effect, but—besides people who test COVID-positive, who will be subject to ‘Red Code’ restrictions—all other persons will be issued a ‘Blue Code’ designation.

HKTB Executive Director Dane Cheng said in a statement issued today: “It is glad to see the lifting of amber code arrangement for inbound visitors. It marks the opening of tourism doors of Hong Kong. Seizing this opportunity, HKTB presents Hong Kong’s brand-new experiences to our overseas travel trade partners, whom we haven’t seen in a while, hoping that they will introduce brand-new tourism products and share Hong Kong’s tourism appeal to visitors in their respective markets and bring them back to Hong Kong as soon as possible. The familiarization trip today marks the milestone first step to our continuous efforts in inviting travel trade partners and media organizations in other visitor source markets to Hong Kong. We will also roll out a global promotional campaign with a view to teaming up with various sectors across the city to drive the full revival of Hong Kong’s tourism together.”

According to Hong Kong News, the government said in its announcement that the decision to further relax its anti-COVID measures was made in light of its latest assessment of the region’s epidemiological development, and “taking into consideration the need for resuming social and economic activities”.

Hong Kong Holds First FAM Trip, Launches Trio of Tourism Strategies

Hong Kong FAM trip attendees enjoying Christmas seasonal activities. (photo courtesy of Hong Kong Tourism Board)

In an effort to jump-start the return of international visitors, the HKTB will be implementing three hew strategies:

Launch a global promotional campaign with the tagline “Hello Hong Kong”, which will highlight Hong Kong’s iconic tourism offering and brand-new experiences. Along these lines, it plans to invite hundreds of industry representatives, travel trade media, key opinion leaders (KOLs) to come and enjoy the city firsthand. The HKTB also intends to once again participate in overseas trade shows to promote the destination.

Shower visitors with perks and special promotional offers. During the first months of the campaign, about 100 of the city’s restaurant and bar partners will participate in providing a series of hospitality “treats”, such as special welcome drinks. The HKTB also plans on partnering with various sectors, including airlines, hotels and tour operators to ensure that there are great offers available to attract potential visitors. One such promotion—a giveaway of 500,000 free plane tickets—has already been announced.

Stage an exciting series of mega-events. To highlight Hong Kong’s return to the international stage by strengthening the city’s global visibility and generating positive word-of-mouth momentum, the HKTB will continue to organize an exciting line-up of mega-events. The tourism body has confirmed that over 200 events and happenings are scheduled in Hong Kong for 2023, with over 100 large-scale MICE events also to be staged next year.

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