By China Daily
HONG KONG - In launching new tourism initiatives, the Hong Kong government shows its determination in overcoming the difficulties brought about by the epidemic, said the city’s commerce chief.
Secretary for Commerce and Economic Development Edward Yau Tang-wah made the remarks on Friday after attending a press conference of the 2020 Wine and Dine Festival. The exemption for licensed travel agents to organize local group tours of not more than 30 people under the group gathering restrictions also came into effect on Friday.
We cannot have a total lockdown. It will bring a detrimental effect to the economy both locally and globally. But at the same time, we cannot open our gate indiscriminately.
Edward Yau, Secretary for Commerce and Economic Development, HKSAR govt
He expected this year's Wine and Dine Festival will reach out to more people as it will be conducted in a hybrid online and offline mode.
He said the launch of the festival amid the epidemic this year would be a good demonstration that Hong Kong can retain this brand name, "Wine and Dine - Best in Hong Kong", Tang said.
On easing restrictions on local tours, he said the government aimed to strike a balance for all.
“As regards the local tourism arrangement, we are finding all ways and means to bring back the space and opportunity for business to resume under the premise of safe and healthy arrangements, as well as to allow some normalcy in business,” Tang said.
“We cannot have a total lockdown. It will bring a detrimental effect to the economy both locally and globally. But at the same time, we cannot open our gate indiscriminately.”
In addition to the local tour arrangement, Hong Kong has reached an agreement with Singapore to establish a travel bubble with a view to reviving air travel between the two places in a safe and progressive way.
“We emphasize a very strong COVID-19 polymerase chain reaction test to be conducted before and after departure. In place of that, we hope that we can do away with the more restrictive quarantine arrangements, allowing people to have more freedom in going around the city in a safe manner,” Tang said.
He added that in launching the new initiatives, the government shows Hong Kong's determination in overcoming the difficulties brought about by the epidemic.
“We will build on these travel bubbles, local tour exemptions and events like this (2020 Wine & Dine Festival) to demonstrate to the world that if there is a will, there is a way,” he said.
“In that regard, we need cooperation from both people in the trade, like the travel trade as well as the public who will continue to observe social distancing and maintain public health.”