The World Travel & Tourism Council (WTTC) presented an in-depth report to leading figures in Hong Kong`s administration and its business community….
The World Travel & Tourism Council (WTTC) presented an in-depth report to leading figures in Hong Kong`s administration and its business community. The report contained economic projections for the growth of Travel & Tourism in Hong Kong and a series of policy recommendations intended to maximize the potential of Travel & Tourism to the Hong Kong economy and exploit its position as the gateway to China.
As China is the fourth fastest growing travel & tourism economy in the world (Hong Kong is expected to be ninth), WTTC believes Hong Kong in its own right and as gateway to China is well positioned to capitalize on this opportunity and so sustain its Travel & Tourism development.
At the event Jean-Claude Baumgarten, WTTC`s President, said : I applaud enthusiastically Hong Kong`s recent marketing drive and the recent reorganization that formed the Tourism Commission and the Hong Kong Tourism Board, along with the Tourism Development Action Program. However, there is still an enormous amount to be done if Hong Kong is to fully exploit the extraordinary growth we predict for the region and to capitalize on its position as the gateway to China.
Some headline numbers from WTTC`s Hong Kong growth projections were as follows:
- Travel & Tourism Industry Employment (Direct only) in 2004 – 74,600 jobs
- Travel & Tourism Economy Employment (Direct and Indirect) in 2004 – 269,200 jobs
- Travel & Tourism Industry GDP (Direct only) in 2004 – HK$25.6 billion
- Growth in GDP Attributable to Travel & Tourism Industry in 2004 – 66.1%
The future prospects for Travel & Tourism in Hong Kong remain extraordinary. WTTC`s growth projections over the next 10 years are as follows:
- Year on year growth in Travel & Tourism Industry GDP up to 2013 – 14.7%
- Year on year growth in Travel & Tourism Industry Employment up to 2013 – 11.7%
- Travel & Tourism Industry Employment (Direct only) in 2013 – 121,100 jobs
- Travel & Tourism Economy Employment (Direct and Indirect) in 2013 – 427,200 jobs
- Travel & Tourism Industry GDP (Direct only) in 2013 – HK$68.3 billion
- Year on year growth in Visitor Exports up to 2013 – 16.7%
In order for Hong Kong to realize its potential in Travel & Tourism, WTTC`s principal policy recommendations were as follows:
- The tourism chief in Hong Kong should hold a cabinet level position with responsibility and authority over all aspects of Travel & Tourism development
- Hong Kong should translate the pilot Tourism Satellite Account (TSA) into a fully-fledged TSA capable of providing complete economic history and forecasts to government and industry players so that decision-making can be improved
- Tourism marketing and promotion must be properly funded so it can fulfill its role as the economic catalyst that helps to lift the economy from the down-cycles
- Hong Kong Disneyland represents a coming of age for Travel & Tourism in the region and is recognition at the highest level that Travel & Tourism is a pillar of the economy. Hong Kong and Disney must pay special attention to the availability of experienced employees, especially at management levels
- Aviation must be seen as the driver of Travel & Tourism development and greater job creation. In this regard, WTTC recommends Hong Kong (along with all governments) to make even greater efforts to open air transport markets and so attract more air transport services and improve regional networks. Hong Kong should continue to pursue managed liberalization and relaxation of aviation regulations
- Hong Kong should establish an Aviation Unit within its tourism policy organization to coordinate and implement actions to increase the number of airlines and passengers
- Hong Kong should develop as an aviation hub for the region and gateway to China. Whilst there needs to be a Hong Kong-based carrier in order for this to happen, nothing requires that the resident airline or airlines need be protected by a national or SAR policy to keep any particular entity in place
- Ownership and control rules should be loosened so that economic viability and ongoing service are determined by the market and by the expertise of the aviation entity
- Hong Kong must be prepared for any and all health, safety and security crises that could arise. In particular, future prevention and contingency plans must be developed
- Sustainability has to be at the core of all policy-making and development planning and more needs to be done to raise industry awareness of the issue.
Theodore is the Co-Founder and Managing Editor of TravelDailyNews Media Network; his responsibilities include business development and planning for TravelDailyNews long-term opportunities.