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HK opens tourism office in Guangzhou
By Li Sheng (China Daily)
Updated: 2004-07-16 02:04

The Hong Kong Tourism Board opened a new office in Guangzhou, capital of South China's Guangdong Province.

The move is expected to help fortify tourism ties between Hong Kong and the Pearl River Delta region, Guangdong, Fijina and Hainan provinces and the Guangxi Zhuang Autonomous Region , where many potential tourists reside.

The board is a governmental organization that promotes Hong Kong as a unique and vibrant tourism destination to increase the sector's contributions to the economy of the special administrative region. The board said Hong Kong offers visitors a fusion of Eastern and Western cultures.

The office would be the board's third in the Chinese mainland, following the ones in Beijing and Shanghai.

Its aim will be to seek opportunities in these provinces and regions.

The mainland tourism market has been developing very rapidly. It has become Hong Kong's leading source of tourists, said Selina Chow, chairperson of the tourism board.

Official statistics indicate Hong Kong entertained 4.8 million domestic tourists between January and May, 73 per cent of whom were from South China.

There are a couple of factors that help promote Hong Kong tourism, Chow said. One is the implementation of CEPA (closer economic partnership arrangement) between Hong Kong and the mainland. Another is the "frequent individual tours" plan that applies to all the cities in Guangdong Province as well as several others around the nation.The new office will promote tourism among people, hoping to ensure more fun and a richer experience when visiting Hong Kong.

The first immediate goal is to promote the 2004 Hong Kong Shopping Festival, which started on June 26 and lasts through August 31.

The sensational extravaganza highlights the amazing selection, sophistication and diversity, high quality of service, late-night shopping and dining and great prices in Hong Kong.

She said the Hong Kong Tourism Board will work with counterparts elsewhere in the region to promote the Greater Pearl River Delta region as an integrated tourism destination.

Hopefully, different tourism boards can work together on large promotional campaigns, she said.

Some joint efforts are under way, including participation in a tourism exhibition organized by the American Society of Travel Agents in Hong Kong and a world tourism congress and travel fair organized by Japan Association of Travel Agents in September.

The Quality Tourism Services Scheme (QTS) and the tourism professional evaluation system are among the board's recommendations for exchanges with counterparts in the region, she said.

More than 2,400 retail and restaurant outlets in Hong Kong have been accredited with "QTS" certificates since late 1999 when the scheme was launched. The accreditation means quality services are available to both visitors and local residents.

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