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More Filipinos invited to visit Hong Kong

Raymond Chan

Just when you thought you knew Hong Kong like the back of your hand, you learn that there are new neighborhoods to explore and events to enjoy.

This has been the marketing slant of Hong Kong Tourism Board (HKTB), which wants more Filipinos to visit the territory either for the first time or a return engagement.

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Raymond Chan, HKTB regional director for Southeast Asia, explains that the Philippines remains Hong Kong’s top market in the region and the seventh most important in the world. He attributes the rising numbers to increased airline capacity. But even then, Filipinos represented just a small fraction of the 60 million tourists who arrived in Hong Kong last year.

“Airfares have become more affordable,” he says, adding that more flights were added from Manila, Clark and Cebu. In October, regional airline Cathay Dragon will launch a direct flight from Davao.

Moreover, HKTB rolled out two initiatives last year.

Targeting families, the Family Fun Campaign offers great deals or discounts from its attraction partners such as Disneyland, Ocean Park and The Peak.

The Getaway Campaign promotes Hong Kong as a quick escape anytime of the year. Chan says that peak months for Filipino visitors in Hong Kong are December and school breaks. During the low season, airline partners can offer better-priced airfares.

Last year, HKTB started the Discover Hong Kong Like a Local campaign.

To keep Hong Kong interesting, it revitalizes each district. The Discover Hong Kong Like a Local campaign started with Central and Sheung Wan in the Old Town Central.

Thematic walking tours brought visitors to historical and cultural landmarks as well as popular hotspots.

This September, HKTB will focus on the market experience of Sham Shui Po.

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“Although Hong Kong has been a popular international destination for many years, we still have a lot of hidden gems that have yet to be explored. People have this perception that Hong Kong is all about shopping and eating. There are different areas including a great outdoor and arts scene. We are leveraging on each district to show that Hong Kong is diversified,” he explains.

The campaign is also spurred by new consumer behavior in the past decade.

Instead of group tours, more individuals are preparing their itinerary through online deals.

They want to enjoy the place like a resident instead of being herded like cattle in a standard group tour.

“These individual travelers are searching for special experiences,” says Chan.

The regional director reveals that HKTB allots the largest budget to the Philippines among Southeast Asian markets.

His vision is that Hong Kong will eventually receive at least a million tourists from the Philippines.

Its major markets are young adults and families.

On information dissemination, Chan observes that although the digital platform taps new markets, traditional media still play a vital role. “Each medium has a different penetration,” he says.

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TAGS: Hong Kong, Hong Kong Tourism Board (HKTB), Raymond Chan
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