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HK Tourism Targets Short-haul Markets

HONG KONG, September 27 -- The Hong Kong tourism industry is relocating resources to short-haul markets like the Chinese mainland and Taiwan as one of its countermeasures following the September 11 terrorist attacks in the United States,a tourism official said Thursday.

The incident in the United States has affected tourism worldwide and, as a result, Hong Kong Tourism Board has immediately adjusted and modified its promotional strategies in accordance with the market environment and situation, said Clara Chong, Executive Director of HKTB.

Since the incident, the HKTB has halted consumer promotion activities in the United States and Canada and has relocated resources to short- haul markets, in particular, the Chinese mainland and Taiwan markets, said Chong.

She said the Chinese mainland and Taiwan markets, Hong Kong's two biggest source markets accounting for around 50 percent of its total visit arrivals, were the least affected by the terrorist attacks, and The HKTB "will further strengthen promotion in these two markets."

The HKTB will be urging the authorities concerned to draw up measures that would make it easier for travelers to visit Hong Kong. This would include increasing the quota of Hong Kong tours for mainland visitors and streamlining visa application procedures for business travelers, Chong said.

For the Taiwan market, the HKTB suggests speeding up the implementation of the "iPermit" electronic visa system and increasing the number of flights to and from Taiwan, she said.

Chong said she believed that North Asia and Australia are two markets still possessing potential and that the HKTB will monitor closely the situation and will strengthen promotional activities at an appropriate time.

Earlier this year, the HKTB forecast growth of 7.8 percent in visitor arrivals to 14.08 million. In view of the current market environment in the U. S., the HKTB has adjusted the forecast downwards and estimates total arrivals for 2001 will be similar to 2000, at around 13.06 million, according to Chong.

-- source: Xinhua News Agency

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