Hong Kong’s top financial official says the government will work to help the tourism sector keep growing as a major part of its efforts to stabilise the economy to offset the effects of the US-China trade war.
The remarks by Financial Secretary Paul Chan Mo-po came as he expected a bumper year for the city’s tourism sector, with the number of visitors set to surpass the 60 million mark and reach an all-time high.
He also said the government could explore easing visa requirements for some countries in the Belt and Road Initiative – China’s global trade strategy – to boost tourism, while also urging the sector to grab the opportunities offered by the Greater Bay Area development to work with neighbouring travel spots to promote multi-destination itineraries.
The Greater Bay Area scheme seeks to develop Hong Kong and Macau with nine cities in Guangdong province into an innovation hub.
In a piece posted on his official blog on Sunday, Chan stressed that the tourism sector accounted for about 4.5% of Hong Kong’s GDP and employed 6.7% of the city’s workforce.
Latest Hong Kong Tourism Board statistics showed that some 5.88 million visitors came to Hong Kong in October, a rise of 11.5% compared with the same month in 2017. Of the arrivals, some 4.65 million, or roughly 80%, were from mainland China. That was up 15.4% from the October 2017 figure.
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