Cited for its sensational fusion of ‘East meets West’ culture, its first-rate infrastructure and its incomparable heritage, Hong Kong upholds its position as Asia’s World City and China’s gateway steadier and firmer than ever before. Aleksandra Wood reports.
Boasting over 200 banking institutions, sublime country parks, theme parks and a unique UNESCO Global Geopark, Hong Kong’s many sites, touristic charm and colourful character unite to create a powerfully enchanting destination for business and leisure travellers alike.
Emphasising its popularity, Hong Kong reportedly attracted more than 55 million visitors in 2016, from 170 destinations spanning the world.
Hotel manager, Jiho Kim, Ovolo Southside Hotel exclusively spoke to TTG about the destination’s allure: “Hong Kong’s appeal is defined by one word, ‘accessibility.’ Known as a global trendsetter with its open economy, world-class infrastructure and facilities, international cultural, gourmet influences and safe environments, Hong Kong is built around its Chinese roots and international influences. A reflection on how the hospitality industry has grown over the years can be witnessed by the changes in its landscape and influences brought in by property developers as seen in prime CBD areas around Hong Kong.”
This consistent success begs the question, how does the city, year after year, sustain its seemingly everlasting charm?
Constant tourism-related developments keep Hong Kong fresh and exciting, with the city striving to outdo itself each year. One such development, which aims to promote Hong Kong as an ideal option for the experiential traveller, is the brand new global marketing campaign established by the Hong Kong Tourism Board (HKTB) — ‘Best of all, It’s in Hong Kong’.
Executive director, HKTB, Anthony Lau elaborated on this: “We see a growing trend of visitors looking for authentic experiences. They want to experience the breadth and depth of the city. In view of this, the HKTB has recently launched the ‘Best of all, It’s in Hong Kong’ marketing campaign, which focuses on promoting the best Hong Kong experiences through the eyes of locals, who know Hong Kong best.”
While the campaign aims to captivate newer visitors, intercity connectivity is also of essential value to Hong Kong. The city continues to make transport more convenient than ever for leisure travellers, whilst simultaneously improving its commercial ties between the Central Business Districts of Hong Kong, Qianhai, Futian and Guangzhou, to assist corporate travellers.
Hong Kong’s most recent, game-changing infrastructural project is the Hong Kong-Zhuhai-Macau Bridge, to be unveiled at the close of 2017.
Ovolo Southside Hotel’s Kim spoke to TTG about the major development: “Linking three cities in one, the Hong Kong- Zhuhai-Macau bridge will be crowned the longest bridge in the world. The proximity of the bridge exit near Lantau Island – where Hong Kong International Airport is located – will fuel tourism and business related developments in the area, with initial identification to wellness travel that has yet to be untapped in Hong Kong.”
Another one of the city’s driving forces is its thriving art scene, which continues to revolutionise the city’s offering, enticing art-enthusiasts from around the world.
The city’s art scene has witnessed a major wave of new galleries and exhibition spaces, with sites such as the old Central Police Station having been converted into a home for cultural heritage and art.
Adding to this, a line-up of crowd-pleasing art events can be experienced within the city.
Vice president, sales and marketing, Park Lane Hong Kong – A Pullman Hotel, Stella Gillera shed light on upcoming events: “Throughout the year, a variety of art festivals manifest the diversity and vibrancy of Hong Kong’s cultural life. On the calendar are the signature Hong Kong Arts Festival in spring, the Hong Kong International Film Festival and Le French May from March to May, the Chinese Opera Festival and International Arts Carnival in summer, and, in alternate autumns, the New Vision Arts Festival and World Cultures Festival. Hong Kong is the world’s third-largest art auction market after New York and London. Art Basel in Hong Kong is a leading event in the international arts calendar.”
LOOK ON THE BRIGHT SIDE
With government efforts set to reform the economic outlook in 2017, a positive Q1 has already been forecasted for the tourism industry. Room supply will be ample, as hotel operators strategise to target driving rates.
Hospitality entities choose to remain positive, according to general manager, The Hotel Jen, Shirley Sam: “Thanks to HKTB’s continuous partnerships with the government and other trade partners to showcase Hong Kong’s diverse tourism appeal through several promotions and mega events, we are optimistic about the market outlook.”
Hotels such as The Langham, Hong Kong firmly trust in reinventing customer services to boost occupancy rates, as explained by director of sales and marketing, David Fung: “I believe creating unique personalised experiences will be an ongoing trend in the tourism industry. And our commitment is to craft the art of the stay for each and every guest at The Langham, Hong Kong. By knowing our guests, we are able to deliver genuine service, anticipate their favourite amenities and design a journey throughout their stay.”
As Hong Kong’s tourism industry continues to rise above all obstacles, the city locks down its position as one of the world’s most coveted destinations.