Hong Kong launches offices to tap Indian biz tourism

November 27th, 2008 - 8:31 pm ICT by IANS  

New Delhi, Nov 27 (IANS) The global economic meltdown might have hit Indian tourism but the focus of Asian travel trade is still on India. The Hong Kong Tourism Board launched its “Meetings Exhibitions Hong Kong (MEHK)” office in the capital Wednesday and in Mumbai to tap the rapidly-growing MICE (Meetings, Incentives, Convention and Exhibition) tourism segment in India.

According to projections by the Tourism Around the World, Global News For Tourism, MICE and Exhibitions bulletin, the MICE segment in India has been growing at 15 to 20 percent annually.

The office will provide one-stop support to MICE organisers in India by offering business building facilities, holiday itineraries, marketing support, infrastructure, advisory services and value-added products and services customised to meet different needs, event logistics facilitation and quality experience.

The HKTB chairman James Tien said with 14-day visa-free travel facility for Indian passport holders and additional flights between the two countries, Hong Kong could become a popular MICE destination for Indians.

“This is the time to ramp up our efforts in India to maintain our market share as we face an economic challenge of our lifetime,” he said.

“We have seen that six out of every 10 (roughly 56 percent) are business travellers. As Hong Kong is one of the best MICE destinations in the region, companies and MICE event operators often take large groups of tourists to Hong Kong,” he said.

“So we decided to launch a campaign focusing on MICE - to stay ahead of the competition. As MICE business is medium to long term, the impact of economic meltdown will be cushioned,” David Leung, regional director for South & Southeast Asia of Hong Kong Tourism Board, told IANS.

He said Hong Kong was committed to the Indian Tourism market.

The country hosts 1,300 MICE events a year and spends nearly HK $11 billion ($1.42 billion) every year on tourism infrastructure.

Figures released by Hong Kong Tourism Board showed that the inflow of Indian tourists to the country has risen by 70 percent. Hong Kong clocked approximately 270,000 footfalls from India this year, which is an increase of 13.5 percent from last year.

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