Tourism and people to people ties
Australia has much to gain from levering off Hong Kong and Macau’s reputations as tourism hot spots, writes AustCham Hong Kong and Macau Chairman Richard Petty.
Tourism and leisure account for a significant portion of Australia’s economy, and the sector is growing rapidly in Australia as it is in Hong Kong and Macau. Some of our members have significant investments in the tourism and leisure sector in Hong Kong and Macau and their activities connect Hong Kong and Macau to Australia in interesting ways.
Australia’s tourism offerings are vast and varied, from adventures in the outback, to surf safaris, to cultural tours in cities that take in major events and visits to landmark sites, and many other options too. Hong Kong and Macau may not have Australia’s outback or its beaches, but there is a vibrant and very sizeable gaming and events industry in Macau, and a mix of world-class shopping, cultural, and culinary experiences to be had in Hong Kong. It is an interesting mix and each location attracts huge numbers of tourists for very different reasons.
One of the benefits of living and working in Hong Kong, or in Macau, is that a wide range of attractions is within reach for many, and even long-weekends can be taken in interesting locations that are a short distance from home base. Supporting the growth in tourism and in leisure travel is a corresponding boom in infrastructure spending on airports, hotels, entertainment complexes, road and rail networks, and so on. Beyond the obvious travel benefits that our members share with others, this is good news for many AustCham Hong Kong & Macau members who benefit directly through expanded employment, investment, and business opportunities, or as beneficiaries of the ripple effect that is created by the increased spend by tourists.
The opportunity to capitalise on this is not lost on the Australian Government and recent announcements outline plans that the government has to grow investment in tourism and related industries. This will be supported by the “There’s nothing like Australia” promotional campaign – one that is sure to tug at the heartstrings of proud Australians everywhere. Importantly, tourism and leisure activities help establish the people-to-people ties that the Australian Government is so keen to see develop in Asia.
Those ties will bring about closer business and trade relationships between Australia and Greater China into the future and they will help Australia to compete more effectively and to benchmark itself against neighbouring nations so as to ensure that Australia remains vital and relevant in all important areas of development. Australia is the lucky country. It must remain a smart country too.
People-to-people ties developed through tourism and leisure and through policy initiatives such as the “New Colombo Plan” which aims to send Australians to study and work in Asia, and which is actively supported by AustCham Hong Kong & Macau, are important in ensuring that Australia continues to be seen as a nation that is friendly and open to doing business.
*Pictured above: Hong Kong’s famous Symphony of Lights nightly harbour light show is produced by Australian firm Laservision.
AustCham Hong Kong & Macau has welcomed Dean White as the Chamber’s new Chief Executive. Dean commenced in the role in late January 2014, taking over from Andrew Quinlan who had served as Interim Chief Executive since AustCham’s former Chief Executive Kirsty Boazman left the Chamber in November 2013 to become Chief of Staff to The Hon. Ian Macfarlane, Minister for Industry, Australia. Dean has an extensive background in business development, event management, hospitality, and recruitment having previously worked with global companies including Hyatt International, Starwood Hotels & Resorts and Manpower Group. Dean has a strong connection with the Australian community in Hong Kong. He is a former president of the Australian Association and was previously on the board of governors of the Australian International School Hong Kong. The Board is very pleased to have appointed someone of Dean’s calibre to lead the Chamber’s executive team. He brings a strong set of advocacy, team building, planning, and management skills to the role. Dean will continue to build on the great work done by Kirsty Boazman, and more recently by Andrew Quinlan, while also working with the Board on new strategies to lead the Chamber in new directions.
AustCham Hong Kong & Macau has grown significantly during the past few years and our members are making fantastic contributions to the development of Hong Kong and Macau, and to the development of the region more broadly. Dean joins the Chamber at an exciting time. ■