Hong Kong, which witnessed a steady decline in tourist footfall from India since last two years, looks to reverse this trend in the next couple of years. “We have been losing out a lot of tourist traffic from India due to lack of air connectivity. Earlier, most flights from India and China were connected through transit in Hong Kong, which encouraged travellers to take a small break in the city,” Hong Kong Tourism Board (HKTB) Regional Director, Europe and New Markets, Peter Hoslin told PTI here. India and Hong Kong are currently connected with 38 direct flights a week and several connecting flights, he said. He said global currency fluctuations which devalued Euro and Pound, and strengthened Hong Kong Dollar also diverted a lot of Indian tourist traffic from Hong Kong.
In 2016, 4,80,000 Indian tourists travelled to Hong Kong, which was a nine per cent decline from 2015. However, this year there has been a steady improvement in tourist traffic flow from India and the negative growth will be narrowed to just two per cent. We are expecting to witness growth in Indians travelling to Hong Kong in a couple of years, he added. “We are working closely with our trade partners in India to turn this around. We are focusing on young dynamic travellers between 20-40 years, families and repeat travellers,” Hoslin said. Hong Kong, a cosmopolitan country, offers a wide variety and choice of activities for visitors, including night life, culture, food and wine, adventure among others, he said.
HKTB, which is promoting Hong Kong as a premium destination, is targeting three metro cities in India – Mumbai, New Delhi and Bangaluru – for promotions, Hoslin said. “The tourism board is also targeting other big cities like Kolkata, Chennai and Hyderabad, which has a lot of young professionals,” he added. He said, HKTB is bullish on promotions through social and digital medium and reaching out to opinion leaders, including young celebrities as well as the those residing in Hong Kong, talking about the destinations and experiences. Neighbouring China is the number one source market of Hong Kong followed by Taiwan, USA, Japan and Korea, he said, adding India is at number 12. “We are seeing a lot of potential in the long weekend segment, meetings, incentives, conferences, events (MICE) and cruise tourism. We are also planning enhancing experiences, which will encourage Indian tourists to extend their stay in Hong Kong,” he added.