06 Aug 2021
Additional financial aid totalling HK$377 million has been allocated within the anti-epidemic fund to support Hong Kong’s struggling tourism industry.
The extra subsidies are earmarked for individuals and tour agencies, with every tour guide receiving a one-off subsidy of HK$7,500. Three rounds of subsidies totalling more than HK$1.7 billion were allocated to the tourism sector before the relief fund.
Secretary for Commerce and Economic Development Edward Yau Tang-wah said of the additional funding: "Taking into account the grave challenges faced by the tourism industry continuously, the government has decided to provide a round of special further subsidies to continue to support the relevant trades and tide over practitioners during this challenging period."
Furthermore, Hong Kong travel agencies with 10 or fewer employees will receive a one-off subsidy of HK$50,000.
In regard to agencies with over 11 members of staff, the subsidy amount would depend on the number of employees, with HK$5,000 per staff member. Around 1,600 agencies are predicted to benefit.
In addition, some 18,400 tour agency staff, tour guides and tour escorts may receive a one-off amount of HK$7,500.
Hong Kong’s tourism industry is showing cautious indications of revival, as the coronavirus vaccine rollout gains momentum.
Consultant at Hong Kong Association of Travel Agents, Richard Willis said inbound business had been the worst affected within the industry, with numerous obstacles remaining on the road to recovery.
“As most recent Covid-19 cases are imported, the government remains very cautious (about border controls). We have a strict quarantine rule so if we want to reactivate inbound traffic in future, there is a need to recognise some vaccine passports.”
He added: “The pent-up demand is there and I see that Asians in particular want to travel. However, there is still too much uncertainty at this point in time and people generally want to travel in their own region for now. We hope that borders will reopen soon – not just Hong Kong’s but also those within the region, as lots of people take multi-destination trips.”