Promoting high value-added projects such as exhibition and conference activities will be a key area of cooperation in the tourism industry between Beijing and Hong Kong, Beijing's vice-mayor said on Tuesday.
Speaking at the symposium, Ding Xiangyang, vice-mayor of Beijing, said Beijing's tourism industry has thrived on robust sightseeing activities as the city is rich in cultural heritages.
"However, Beijing is relatively weak in business travel and organizing exhibition activities. I hope that Hong Kong's tourism operators can lend more support to their Beijing counterparts in these aspects," he said.
The Symposium on Tuesday included a working session on how to elicit more cooperation for the tourism sector from both cities.
"The Beijing tourism operators are also weak in commercializing their tourism services and facilities and should learn from their counterparts in Hong Kong. The Disneyland Park, the Wetland Park, the Avenue of Stars and the 'Lights Symphony' show at the Victoria Harbor waterfront have been well capitalized by Hong Kong tourism practitioners to attract mainland tourists to Hong Kong," Ding added.
Ding also reckoned that the tourism industry in both cities should also do more to reinforce the ethics of "integrity and quality" in the reciprocal tourism services.
Both Beijing and Hong Kong are well-known international inbound tourism destinations as well as exporters of outbound tourists. In 2011, mainland tourist visitor arrivals in Hong Kong grew 23.9 percent, of which mainland tourist arrivals from Beijing-originated tours jumped 40.3 percent over the previous year.
According to data provided by Beijing Municipal Commission of Tourism Development, the total visitor arrivals in Beijing exceeded 200 million in 2011, bringing a total revenue of $51.8 billion. The added value contributed by the tourism industry currently occupies 7 percent of the gross domestic product in Beijing and the tourism industry has become a major pillar in contributing to Beijing's economy.
The tourism industry is also one of the four major pillar industries in Hong Kong. According to Hong Kong government statistics, tourism generated HK$74.6 billion value added services that comprised 4.4 percent of the local GDP in 2010. The number of persons engaged in tourism represented 6.2 percent of the total employment in 2010.