HONG KONG -- The Hong Kong Tourism Board last month launched a
worldwide tourism marketing campaign amid signs of an economic
recovery -- helped by a tourism rebound -- following the SARS
Dubbed "Live It, Love It," the initiative is the second phase of
Hong Kong's so-called "revival campaign" to encourage tourists to
return to the territory.
An outbreak of SARS hit
Hong Kong between March and May, claiming 299 lives and sickening
1,755. It inflicted major losses on Hong Kong's economy. The
territory was declared SARS-free by the World Health Organization
on July 23.
The new campaign follows the "Hong Kong Welcomes You" promotion
that ran from July to mid-September. That campaign helped Hong Kong
achieve month-to-month increases in tourist arrivals, culminating
in a 9.6% increase in arrivals in August compared with August
"The objective of the first phase was to rebuild confidence,"
said Clara Chong, executive director of the Hong Kong Tourism
Board. "The objective of the new campaign is to reinforce Hong
Kong's position as a diverse, cosmopolitan city."
The $16 million "Live It, Love It" campaign includes television,
print and radio advertising featuring action film star Jackie Chan
greeting visitors in several languages. The campaign is scheduled
to run through March in the U.S., U.K., Canada, Australia, mainland
China, Taiwan, Japan, Korea and Southeast Asia.
In addition to the media component, Hong Kong has plans for a
"mega-event" every month featuring a different cultural theme.
Among the events planned are an international musical fireworks
competition in October, Winterfest from mid-November to December
and the International Chinese New Year's Night Parade in
The campaign will be supported by a series of road shows and
trade activities in major feeder markets.
Chong said although Hong Kong's economy shrank in both the first
and second quarters of the year, the Hong Kong government has
raised its full-year Growth Domestic Product (GDP) forecast for
2003 to 2.0% from 1.5%.
Next year, Chong said, the economy is projected to grow by as
much as 5%.
Chong said Hong Kong is poised for a major hotel expansion to
accommodate an anticipated increase in visitors from mainland
China. This year, Hong Kong expects to welcome almost 8 million
mainland tourists, rising to 10 million in 2004.
Under an agreement between Hong Kong and China signed in June,
residents of Shanghai, Beijing and seven cities in the Guangdong
prov-ince are allowed to visit Hong Kong as individuals, without
having to go as part of a sanctioned group.
To accommodate the increase, the Hong Kong government announced
it will expedite the approval process for hotel projects by
simplifying the necessary documentation and speeding up the
land-premium negotiation process.
Hong Kong has more than 42,000 hotel rooms, with another 12,000
expected to be completed within the next two years. Another 20,000
rooms are expected to open within the next five years.
Chong said Hong Kong plans to open the International Exhibition
Center in late 2005. The facility will be located next to Hong Kong
Airport, doubling the convention and exhibition space in Hong
To contact reporter Jorge Sidron, send e-mail to [email protected].