Tourism sector representatives on Friday welcomed the launch of the "Hello Hong Kong" global promotional drive, saying it offers a much-needed boost to the pandemic-hit industry.
Speaking a day after Chief Executive John Lee unveiled his plans to lure tourists to the city, including handing out 500,000 air tickets and a million spending vouchers, they also stressed the need to ensure the industry can cope with the renewed demand.
Simon Wong, chairman of the Quality Tourism Services Association, told an RTHK programme that he expects visitor numbers to reach up to 60 to 70 percent of pre-pandemic levels this year.
"This has been long-awaited, as the tourism industry has been halted for three years." he said. "The key is to let the rest of the world know that Hong Kong has lifted Covid curbs and travel restrictions, and is welcoming tourists back."
But speaking on the same programme, a former head of the Department of Hospitality at the Vocational Training Council, Dennis Wong, questioned whether airlines would be able to cope with a surge in demand.
"We have to look at the actual situation, such as whether airlines have enough capacity to cope with people who may want to come to Hong Kong with the 500,000 free air tickets," he said. He suggested flexibility is needed when the free ticket offer is launched next month, including ensuring that travellers aren't limited to just a short time period.
Meanwhile, tourism sector lawmaker Perry Yiu said that while he's happy about the promotional campaign, more needs to be done to boost consumption and encourage tourists to stay for longer periods.
Yiu also called on the government to roll out a recovery fund, saying businesses across the industry are struggling to hire enough staff.