Indian outbound to Hong Kong has been steady through the years, only to suffer a setback with the launch of a new visa regime rolled out the last year. The change in regulation, from visa-on-arrival to pre-registration, had led to a steep nosedive of 18 percent in traffic in 2017 on a y-o-y basis. The downward slide, reportedly, has been majorly stemmed, with assiduous campaigns launched by Hong Kong Tourism Board to educate travel trade and corporate travellers about the change in regulations.
There are other critical developments too. New connections, linking Indian cities to South China, has further challenged footfalls, as most Indians hitherto travelling to south China cities via Hong Kong are increasingly bypassing the city-nation.
Amidst these challenges, Hong Kong Tourism Board has stepped up its engagement with Indian stakeholders, focussing on aspects that are yet not in the mainstream of public consumption. The outreach is likely to be based on a mix of traditional and new-age mediums.
Puneet Kumar, Senior Manager, Marketing Development – India suggested that sampling the city’s diverse offerings like a local was the theme around which it was basing its India outreach. “While we are known as a modern city with sky-scrapers and business centres, we have so much more to offer in terms of nature and activities like cycling and hiking,” he said, indicating that the tourism board was making serious attempts to widen the perception of Hong Kong from being merely a shopping destination. He insisted that experiencing local elements such as Michelin Star awarded local delicacies and relics of the bygone era were factors that would provide a fresh perspective to travellers planning a sojourn to the Island nation.
He conceded that attracting the outbound was becoming an increasingly challenging prospect because of the “stiff competition”, suggesting that new and ingenious means were needed to be deployed to stand out in a crowded market. “We took to the digital media and came up with a four-part web series depicting different aspects of city’s offerings and it helped us generate significant traction in the online world. So, we understand the importance of muscling up presence in the digital world, especially when the Indian traveller is going mobile,” he substantiated.
That Hong Kong will strive to bring to fore less sampled elements does not diminish the fact that most of its major pulls remain intact. A vibrant night-life, the multi-cultural and ethnic populace, varied culinary and shopping experiences continue to pack a punch. The mix of new and old is likely to keep the outbound interested in Hong Kong.