The Travel Industry Council of Hong Kong (TIC) welcomes the government’s proposals in the Budget announced today to allocate additional funding to the Pilot Information Technology Development Matching Fund Scheme for Travel Agents (“Pilot Scheme”), and to support the travel industry in exploring tourism business opportunities arising from the Belt and Road Initiative and the development of the Bay Area.
The Financial Secretary proposed in the 2018-19 Budget that additional funding be allocated for launching various measures to support tourism development, one of which is to allocate HK$30 million to support the TIC to continue to implement and enhance the Pilot Scheme in order to promote the adoption of information technology among small- and medium-sized travel agents for business expansion as well as enhancement of operational efficiency and service quality.
The government allocated HK$10 million to set up the Pilot Scheme through the TIC back in the 2016-17 Budget. The Pilot Scheme, since its launch in July 2016, has received overwhelming responses from the industry. Applications from more than 110 small- and medium-sized travel agents have been approved, with a success rate reaching 96%. The approved projects vary from constructing and optimising travel websites, setting up online booking and customer relationship management systems, to establishing smart phone applications and online social media tools.
In response to the additional government funding, the TIC will discuss with the government enhancement measures of the Pilot Scheme so as to encourage more travel agents to make better use of information technology to elevate service quality, strengthen information system security, improve crowd management of inbound tour groups, etc. To tie in with the upcoming implementation of the e-levy system, travel agents can also apply for funding to establish corresponding application program interfaces.
Furthermore, the TIC will work closely with the government to help the local industry grasp the enormous opportunities arising from the Belt and Road Initiative and the development of the Guangdong-Hong Kong-Macao Bay Area. The TIC plans to establish a web-based resource platform to provide more tourism information on the Belt and Road and the Bay Area to support the industry in developing more products. It also plans to lead local travel agents to the Bay Area so that they can explore more business opportunities.
Mr Jason Wong, Chairman of the TIC, said, “The TIC very much welcomes the government’s funding injection into the Pilot Information Technology Development Matching Fund Scheme for Travel Agents, encouraging more travel agents to make better use of information technology to enhance cyber security and strengthen the public’s confidence in the industry. The TIC is thankful for the government in helping the local industry explore tourism business opportunities arising from the Belt and Road Initiative and the Guangdong-Hong Kong-Macao Bay Area, promoting the development of bilateral tourism and multi-destination travel. The TIC will work out implementation details of relevant projects with the government for announcement to the industry in due course.”