Hong Kong Tourist Association to Transform

The Hong Kong Tourist Association (HKTA) will be transformed into the Hong Kong Tourism Board later this year, said Selina Chow, chairman of the HKTA, in Hong Kong Thursday.

The first reading of the Hong Kong Tourist Association (Amendment) Bill 2001 is scheduled to take place on January 17 and provides for the organization's reconstitution as the Hong Kong Tourism Board from April 1, 2001.

Announcing the forthcoming transformation at a luncheon hosted by the Hong Kong General Chamber of Commerce, Chow pointed out that the transformation is not merely a cosmetic facelift, but a reflection of dynamic changes that would bring new focus to the tourism body's work.

The HKTA was established by the government in 1957, when there were just 50,000 visitors a year to Hong Kong. At present, there are more than 13 million visitors a year, generating about 60 billion HK dollar (US$7.69 billion) in annual revenue.

"These changes will give new impetus to the development of our tourism industry and will benefit the whole community of Hong Kong," Chow said.

To reflect the new image, a new logo will be designed for the Tourism Board, said Chow, adding that the choice of the design have been whittled down to two.

"After long deliberation and consultation, we decided to retain the red junk because it is still the most instantly recognized symbol of Hong Kong throughout the world," she explained. "What we have done is to give the original logo a sleek, modern look in line with Hong Kong's dynamic image."

Views on the two designs are now being canvassed from visitors, local residents and government officials before a final decision is made, she added.

(Xinhua 01/11/2001)