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Hong Kong Tourism Set To Reach Pre-Pandemic Levels By 2025

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(CTN News) – A recently launched forecasting platform developed by a local university predicts that Hong Kong’s tourism figures are expected to rebound to pre-pandemic levels by the conclusion of 2025, trailing behind Macau by one year.

The system, known as the “GBA Tourism Forecasting Platform,” was introduced by Polytechnic University on Thursday.

This data analysis tool, centered on the Greater Bay Area (GBA) initiative, is part of the central government’s ambitious plan to integrate Hong Kong, Macau, and nine cities in Guangdong province into a cohesive economic and business hub.

The platform, driven by artificial intelligence (AI) and econometric models, also revealed that visitors in December primarily appreciated the city’s culture and landscape, though expressed dissatisfaction with the food and climate.

Haiyan Song, the Associate Dean and Chair Professor of the school, highlighted that the Greater Bay Area (GBA) aims to establish itself as a global leader and premier tourist destination by 2035.

Despite these aspirations, challenges persist post-Covid-19, including sluggish growth in the global economy, particularly in mainland China. The impact of inflation on travel costs and shifts in tourist behavior also pose challenges for the GBA.

Song emphasized the importance of accurate tourism demand forecasts for policymakers and practitioners to formulate sustainable strategies.

He led the development of the platform, underscoring its role in providing valuable insights to address these challenges in the tourism landscape.

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Advanced Forecasting: Predicting Tourism Recovery in Hong Kong and Macau

According to Song, the forecasting platform has the capability to generate both long- and short-term predictions by utilizing publicly available government information, including monthly incoming tourist numbers.

Additionally, the platform leverages big data analyses by AI from various websites such as Baidu, Google, and Ctrip.

The projections from the platform suggest that Hong Kong’s incoming tourist numbers are anticipated to reach 2018 levels by the close of 2025, with an estimated 94 million visitors expected in 2027.

A significant majority, nearly 75 percent, of these visitors are projected to come from the Greater Bay Area.

In contrast, Macau is predicted to achieve a complete recovery in 2024, aligning with the recovery timeline of other cities in the bay area. In 2023,

Tourism Trends in Hong Kong and Macau Post-Covid: Insights and Analysis

Hong Kong saw 34 million tourists, representing 65 percent of pre-Covid levels, while Macau welcomed 28.3 million visitors, equivalent to 71 percent of the 2019 figures.

Song pointed out that Macau remained open to mainland Chinese visitors throughout most of the pandemic, experiencing only brief periods of shutdown. This continuity allowed for the sustained development of momentum in Macau’s tourism.

The platform’s findings revealed that visitor sentiment regarding safety and culture in Hong Kong last month received a perfect score of 1. Sightseeing, entertainment, landscape, and the receptiveness of residents closely followed with scores around 0.9.

However, aspects such as climate and perceived risk received lower scores of around 0.2.

The city’s food scene also scored 0.39, prompting Song to advocate for improved service quality, particularly in smaller restaurants.

Hong Kong’s catering industry is diverse, but Song highlighted that in some establishments, the service might be efficient but lacking friendliness, resulting in slightly lower scores.

While acknowledging excellent service quality in places like hotels, airlines, and many fine-dining restaurants, Song emphasized the need for improvement in service at popular yet smaller catering businesses.

The platform’s analysis also revealed that shopping scored 0.69, indicating that the city’s retail scene remains appealing.

Song concluded that despite industry concerns about post-pandemic business not rebounding as anticipated, the lower footfall for shopping doesn’t necessarily equate to dissatisfaction.

He attributed this shift to behavioral changes, especially among the younger generation, who seek more diversity in tourism products and services.

Song encouraged maintaining high standards, expressing optimism that continued efforts would attract a larger number of shoppers in the future.

Jack Cheung Ki-tang, the Director of CTS HK Metropark Hotels Management, acknowledged the platform’s utility in predicting tourist behavior during a period of change.

He emphasized that contemporary travelers are seeking different experiences compared to the past, highlighting the platform’s potential significance for the industry in adapting to evolving preferences.

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