Briefing by the Secretary for Commerce and Economic Development on the Chief Executive’s 2019 Policy Address
Mr CHAN Chun-ying considered the first round of measures to support the tourism trade announced by the Financial Secretary in August 2019 were of little help to the trade. He opined that the cash incentive level of the Travel Agents Incentive Scheme, which provided travel agents with cash incentives based on the number of travellers they served, was so low that it was ineffective in encouraging outbound travel. He suggested that the Administration should consider distributing consumption coupons to local residents with a view to boosting the economy through encouraging local consumption.
SCED advised that the package of measures announced by the Financial Secretary in August and September 2019 costing over $19.1 billion, together with other relief measures to be announced in the 2020-2021 Budget, would help alleviate the financial burden of citizens and encourage local consumption. As regards the suggestion of offering consumption coupons to the public, he advised that the Government had to consider carefully factors such as the amount of public money to be involved, the implementation details and effectiveness of the measure. The Government would continue to liaise with the trade to identify and address their needs. He added that the Government had been making efforts in developing a diversified portfolio of visitor source markets for Hong Kong, and that the growth momentum of the tourism industry would only be made possible when stability of the community were restored. He also assured members that the relevant lobbying work regarding the Hong Kong Human Rights and Democracy Act had been ongoing
Mr CHAN Chun-ying noted that the Hong Kong Tourism Board was preparing to roll out large-scale promotion campaign to attract overseas visitors, and sought information on the “opportune junctures” to do so as described by the Administration in the information paper. SCED advised that currently around 40 countries/regions had issued alerts/advice on travelling to Hong Kong. The Administration was monitoring the development of events on one hand and rolling out relevant helping measures on the other. It would mount more massive and extensive work when law and order were being restored later.