Hong Kong travel agencies forced to cut prices to attract more tourists and boost sales

As air tickets become more affordable and some exchange rates turn in Asia’s favour, travel agencies have boosted their efforts to attract holiday travellers post high season.

One agency, Hong Thai Travel Services, has already offered 600 “buy two, get one free” package deals to Thailand.

Despite experiencing a 15 percent revenue slump, Hong Thai has also pledged HK$7 million for the purposes of a year-end staff bonus, and offering 30 new jobs.

The weakening currencies of Australia and South Korea have proven themselves attractive to Hong Kong, with the majority of Hong Thai tours to the regions filled.

General Manager of Hong Thai, Susanna Lau Mei-Sze also indicated that many travellers had opted for Vietnam, the Philippines or Cambodia instead of Thailand, due to the political situation.

The Christmas period saw a 60 percent decline in tour groups visiting Thailand, The Standard reports.

A partnership agreement was announced between Hong Thai, the Tourism Authority of Thailand and Thai Airways, allowing 600 customers to receive “buy two, get one free” over the next month.

Other travel agencies, such as Sunflower Travel Service, are offering fee reductions to Japan to combat the strength of the Japanese yen.

Assistant General Manager Anthony Chan Hung-Cheong indicated that Sunflower would be offering fee reductions of as much as 30 percent or HK$10,000 for tours to Hokkaido.

The company had adopted a “small profit, quick return” policy for the Christmas period, which was successful, as they experienced a 4 percent growth in customers.

Agencies are also reaching favourable deals with Japanese hotels and airlines, to combat the difficulties with currency. EGL Tours will still have 50 tour groups leave for Japan within the peak season.

Hong Kong itself is concerned about its tourist arrivals for the year, with Hong Kong Tourism Board Chairman, James Tien Pei-Chun, warning that to meet last year’s figure of 29.5 million arrivals would be “very good”.

However, he blamed the ‘Three Links’ deal between the Chinese mainland and Taiwan for the 10 percent decline in Taiwanese arrivals to Hong Kong last month.

The Tourism Board are considering a multi-stop itinerary tailored to Taiwanese tourists, allowing them to visit Hong Kong prior to travelling to Guangzhou.

Nevertheless, Tien recognised that it was crucial for the government to increase the Tourism Board funding in order to improve overseas advertising for Hong Kong.

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