‘Smile more’: Hong Kong prepares for hospitality campaign by getting service sector and civil servants to be more courteous

Last Updated on May 25, 2024 5:51 pm

By Cannix Yau

Hong Kong is gearing up for a hospitality campaign to woo tourists by mobilising support from across all segments of society, from frontline civil servants to transport operators, to make courtesy and warm behaviour a priority.

Tourism minister Kevin Yeung Yun-hung said on Saturday authorities would coordinate all service industries ranging from tourism, catering, hotel, retail and transport, as well as relevant government departments, to join hands in promoting the courtesy campaign.

The government initiative to reinforce the city’s image as a tourist-friendly destination will be launched in June.

“Hongkongers are mostly courteous and the majority of workers in the service sector provide a high standard of service. But there have been some individual cases of bad service,” he told a radio programme.

“Through the coming campaign, we hope to encourage people to take a step further and smile a little bit more or take the initiative to help tourists. Workers can also be more thoughtful in taking care of their patrons.

“We hope that this kind of attitude and mentality can become part of daily life and that people will be willing to smile more to make tourists feel like they are at home.”

Yeung said the government was now coordinating efforts with different departments as well as transport operators such as airlines.

“Usually, it’s the immigration officers, law enforcement officers or aircrew that are the first people that tourists may encounter when they arrive in Hong Kong so their attitude is very important,” he said.

“We also hope to target schools and community centres in promoting a hospitality culture because it is important to engage different segments of society to take part in this campaign.”

Yeung pointed to the city’s flag carrier, Cathay Pacific Airways, saying many patrons had urged it to improve service as there had been complaints about quality from time to time.

“I believe Cathay is seeking to enhance its service and it understands that the public has high expectations of it,” he said. “We hope that as a flag carrier representing Hong Kong, it can showcase to the world that the city’s airlines can do very well.”

Authorities plan to host more than 100 mega events in the second half of the year, which the government has deemed “value for money” in terms of attracting visitors and bringing economic benefits to the city.

The updated list of mega events taking place between July and December features 42 large-scale conferences, 25 artistic and creative activities, and 15 sports competitions.

There are also 13 functions related to finance, economy and the innovation and technology sector, as well as 11 festive events.

Hong Kong will hold more than 210 mega events by the end of the year. This number includes events that have already taken place.

The activities are expected to attract 1.7 million tourists, stimulate spending of HK$7.2 billion (US$92.3 million) and add HK$4.3 billion to the economy.

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