Hong Kong Tourism Board plans to extend HK$100 dining vouchers to local residents, Says Quality Tourism Services Chairman

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Simon Wong

8th December 2023 – (Hong Kong) Christmas and New Year are approaching, and representatives from various policy bureaus of the Hong Kong government held a cross-departmental meeting with representatives from the catering, retail, and other industries on Thursday (7th) to discuss coordinated efforts to encourage local consumption. Simon Wong Kit-lung, Chairman of the Quality Tourism Services Association, who attended the meeting, revealed today (8th) that the Hong Kong Tourism Board plans to extend the HK$100 dining vouchers provided to tourists to Hong Kong citizens. These vouchers can be used at restaurants participating in the Quality Tourism Services (QTS) Scheme after 6pm. However, the quantity of dining vouchers is limited, and Wong believes that citizens need to register and choose their preferred restaurants on the Tourism Board’s website before they can use the vouchers.

When asked about the impact of the dining vouchers on the industry, Wong described it as a “helping hand” but emphasised that improvement would rely on the overall recovery of Hong Kong’s economy. He compared the distribution of the vouchers to playing a game of mahjong, where each move may not immediately result in improvement, but with time and luck, positive outcomes can be achieved.

Following the cross-departmental meeting on Thursday, Kevin Yeung, Secretary for Culture, Sports and Tourism, stated that there was consensus among the participants that the government would create an enabling environment while different sectors would promote innovative and diverse activities and incentives to attract local residents and tourists. Government departments will collaborate with industries within their respective scopes to implement feasible solutions, such as offering discounts at shopping malls and on transportation. The government, in partnership with the Tourism Board, will organise events including fireworks, countdown activities, and a parade during the period from now until the Lunar New Year to enhance public enthusiasm.

Simon Wong Kit-lung, Chairman of the Quality Tourism Services Association, who attended the meeting, stated in a radio program that Christmas is an important period for the catering industry. He observed the government’s concern for the challenges faced by the catering, retail, and tourism-related sectors during the meeting and expressed support for the industry. Wong revealed that the Tourism Board plans to extend the HK$100 dining vouchers provided to tourists to Hong Kong citizens. These vouchers can be directly used at restaurants participating in the Quality Tourism Services Scheme after 6 p.m. There is no minimum spending requirement, but the quantity of dining vouchers is limited. Wong believes that citizens need to register on the Tourism Board’s website and select their preferred restaurants before they can use the vouchers.

Wong expects that the dining vouchers will provide some assistance, but he emphasised that the business situation will only improve when Hong Kong’s overall economy recovers. He likened the distribution of the vouchers to playing a game of mahjong, where each move may not immediately result in improvement, but with time and luck, positive outcomes can be achieved. Wong pointed out that the main problem lies in the weak local purchasing power caused by the poor economic conditions. He emphasised that macroeconomic issues should not be addressed with microeconomic approaches.

Wong also argued against drawing conclusions such as “Shenzhen is better than Hong Kong” based on the current situation. He pointed out that the number of Hong Kong residents visiting Shenzhen is actually lower than in 2018. The perception of “no crowd” in both Shenzhen and Hong Kong is due to weak local consumption. Wong stressed that improvements should be made if Hong Kong is not performing well, but the most important aspect is to focus on the economy.