Finance and tourism urged to polish up act

Updated: 2016-02-02 09:21

By Oswald Chanin Hong Kong(HK Edition)

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Hong Kong's financial services and tourism industries need to move up the value chain and provide high-end services in order to maintain the city's role as an international financial and tourism center.

That is among recommendations from the Friends of Hong Kong Association (FHKA), which on Monday released two research reports to suggest various measures to develop the financial services and tourism sector.

The FHKA, a think tank to boost the SAR's economic development and promote cross-border cooperation, was founded in 1989 by Hong Kong-based members of the Chinese People's Political Consultative Conference (CPPCC), the mainland's top political advisory body.

On financial services, the FHKA urges Hong Kong to grasp opportunities under the Belt and Road Initiative. Proposed suggestions include lobbying the Asian Infrastructure Investment Bank to set up its corporate treasury center in Hong Kong and developing the city's bond market to provide debt issuance and private equity financing for Belt and Road projects.

A second set of proposals relates to how Hong Kong's finance sector can help the liberalization of the mainland financial market. Proposed initiatives include allowing Hong Kong securities brokers to expand their mainland business and permitting local fund houses to sell their fund products on the mainland.

"With the increasing bilateral flow of people, goods, capital and information between the city and the mainland, Hong Kong should seize the opportunity to enhance the development of financial services," Henry Tang Ying-yen, former Hong Kong chief secretary and FHKA's Economic Affairs Committee chairman, told a press conference on Monday.

Tang, who is also a CPPCC Standing Committee member, added that Hong Kong should gear up to prepare for a more volatile financial market this year. On tourism, FHKA suggests establishing a government tourism bureau to effectively coordinate and implement recommendations relating to the travel industry; promoting "multi-destination tours' to draw more visitors; and exploring more high value-added products such as medical, educational, financial and green tourism packages.

"The proposed tourism bureau could coordinate policymaking in a cross-department manner that would further cement tourism as a major industry in Hong Kong," said Francis Lui Yiu-tung, FHKA's tourism subcommittee leader and also an executive director at entertainment and resort facilities operator Galaxy Entertainment Group.

A CLSA report last month said the lack of new tourist attractions, tourist capacity constraints and increased competition are hurting the competitiveness of the local tourism sector.

Finance and tourism urged to polish up act

 Finance and tourism urged to polish up act

Friends of Hong Kong Association recommends that the city's financial sector grasp Belt and Road opportunities and help the liberalization of the mainland financial market, and that a tourism bureau be set up for policy coordination. Edmond Tang / China Daily

(HK Edition 02/02/2016 page8)