Hong Kong has had no notable tourist attractions since Disneyland was completed and needs to build more, a report said on Thursday.
The Legislative Council’s Tourism Committee said that the territory’s tourism industry was relying too heavily on mainland tourists, and that Hong Kong has failed to produce any outstanding or notable tourist attractions since 2005.
The report said that Hong Kong’s weak inbound tourism means it should do more to either develop tourist attractions or build on existing ones, citing figures from the Hong Kong Tourism Board (HKTB) which revealed that the rise in inbound tourism had slowed down in the first half of this year. While there was an increase, it only rose by 2.8 percent.
A statement released by the committee said: “The recent setback in inbound tourism underscores the need for Hong Kong to diversify its tourism source markets and product offerings. There are suggestions that Hong Kong should develop more tourist attractions, introduce effective measures to attract more inbound business visitors, and enable further growth of the cruise tourism.”
“Hong Kong has seen very few well-received tourist spots coming on stream since the opening of the Hong Kong Disneyland in 2005. Yet Singapore has opened up new tourist spots one after another almost every year since 2008, while Korea has created new tourist attractions based around well-known Hallyu (Korean Wave) drama locations.”
The most recent figures from the Singapore Tourism Board showed there were 15.6 million international visitor arrivals in 2013, a 7.4 percent increase from 2012. The Korea Tourism Organisation said more than 14.2 million visited South Korea in 2014, a 16.6 percent increase from the previous year.
The report also suggested that Hong Kong should do more to promote business travel, adding that the government has not done as much as other Asian cities to address the growth of meetings, incentives, conferences and exhibitions (MICE) tourism. The committee called on the authorities to look into implementing a medium to long-term plan to attract more business travellers, adding it could lead to a boost in shopping and spending on accommodation.
It also added that Hong Kong needed to do more to promote cruise tourism, adding that the HK$8.2 billion Kai Tak Cruise Terminal was “lagging behind” in providing “passenger-friendly transport” to the city centre.
The Hong Kong Tourism Commission reported that of the 60.8 million tourists who visited the SAR last year, 77 percent of them came from the mainland. However, there are fears that the recent anti-parallel trading protests have deterred mainland visitors.
A weak Yen also lead to an increase in the number of mainland tourists visiting Japan, whilst South Korea continues to be a popular destination despite the MERS outbreak, which struck the country earlier in 2015. On August 1 the Hong Kong government lifted the red travel alert on South Korea after the country’s authorities declared that the outbreak was under control.
A statement from the Hong Kong Tourism Commission said: “The Government has always attached great importance to the development of tourism in Hong Kong, and put a lot of resources to enhance tourism appeal.”
The statement goes on to say that expansion and redevelopment projects have been taking place in Hong Kong’s largest theme parks, citing Ocean Park’s all-weather water park and hotel, Hong Kong Disneyland’s Iron Man Experience, and also phase II of the Hong Kong Disneyland Resort Development.
A spokesperson from the Tourism Commission said it gives HK$30 million every year to HKTB to promote MICE tourism and last year increased the budget by HK$15 million in order to “consolidate Hong Kong’s position as one of the preferred MICE destinations.”
The statement also said the government would continue to improve connectivity to Kai Tak and that the HKTB would “continue to actively develop and promote different kinds of tourism products to make Hong Kong a more diversified tourism destination.”