The Hong Kong Tourism Board has warmly welcomed the
mutual visa-free access agreement signed on Thursday between the
governments of the Hong Kong Special Administrative Region and Russia.
The Agreement on Mutual
Exemption of Visa Requirements provides visa-free access
to HKSAR passport holders visiting Russia for a stay of
up to 14 days. Likewise, Russian nationals will also
enjoy 14 days' visa-free access to Hong Kong.
Both the contracting parties aim
to complete the outstanding formalities required for the
agreement to come into effect by mid 2009.
HKTB Chairman Mr James Tien said, “Given the
impact of the global financial crisis, the HKTB has decided to
focus its marketing effort on the short-haul markets this year. In
view of this new arrangement, which will provide Russian visitors
with greater convenience and help attract them to visit Hong Kong,
as well as the growth potential of the Russian market in the long
run, the HKTB will strengthen exposure and awareness of Hong Kong
in Russia, so that we can make a head start and capture the surge
in visitor arrivals when the economic situation improves.
“We will fully capitalise on the opportunity
brought by the visa-free access agreement, and implement a series
of promotions in Russia this year,” Mr Tien continued. “Our key
target segments include the middle-age couples and family
visitors. Tailoring to Russian travellers’ interest in shopping
and dining, the HKTB will leverage on the Hong Kong Food and Wine
Year platform to promote Hong Kong’s appeal. We will also join
forces with Hainan and other Mainland provinces to promote
multi-destinations itineraries featuring Hong Kong.”
Russia is already included as an emerging market
in HKTB’s work plan for 2009-10. Meanwhile, HKTB Executive
Director Mr Anthony Lau is currently in Hainan, and has entered
into an agreement with the province’s tourism bureau to jointly
tap the Russian market, including joint publicity during a leisure
travel show in Moscow in September 2009.
In addition, the HKTB will organise a travel
mission to St Petersburg and Moscow on 1 and 2 June for the local
travel trade to conduct business sessions with their Russian
counterparts, while from 3 June, the HKTB will stage a 10-day
photo exhibition targeting consumers in a famous mega shopping
mall in Moscow.
As for publicity, the HKTB recently
co-operated with Russia’s major TV station TV Rossiya to produce a
series of features on Hong Kong, which will be broadcast on the
station’s longstanding morning show, as well as other channels
In 2008, visitor arrivals from Russia to Hong
Kong exceeded 37,000, 13% more than in 2007.
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