The Hong Kong Tourism Board (HKTB) has launched
its first-ever Meet-the-Locals Volunteer Programme.
Hong Kong residents are being recruited to
become “Hong Kong Pals” and provide travel information to visitors
from across the globe. The volunteers will also introduce Hong
Kong’s way of life and culture, as well as make travel
recommendations based on their own favourite sites and activities.
Such interaction will help visitors to enjoy a more in-depth experience of Hong Kong.
Mr James Tien said, “In recent years, competition among regional
travel destinations has become more intense than ever, especially
in the wake of the financial tsunami. Every destination is
aggressively seeking visitor sources. In HKTB’s view, if we are to
get our piece of the pie, then Hong Kong’s unique living culture
should be our principal ‘soft’ asset. We hope that the
“Meet-the-Locals” volunteers can convey to visitors their
knowledge and personal experience of Hong Kong’s colourful
lifestyle and culture, and help them explore Hong Kong in a fresh
“Tourism is everyone’s business,” Mr
Tien continued. “Through the Meet-the-Locals Volunteer Programme, Hong Kong
residents will take up positions on the front-line of servicing
visitors, displaying the warm, hospitable face of the city, and
promoting Hong Kong tourism hand-in-hand with HKTB.”
Between October 2009 and September 2010, the Meet-the-Locals
volunteers identified as “Hong Kong Pals” will offer services at
HKTB Visitor Centres located at the Tsim Sha Tsui Star Ferry
Concourse and The Peak.
To become a Hong Kong Pal, residents must
be passionate about Hong Kong, and speak fluent Cantonese, English
and Mandarin. Knowledge of additional languages would be an added
advantage. A Hong Kong Pal must also possess knowledge of one or
more tourism-related areas of interest, such as Hong Kong cuisine,
Cantonese Opera, architecture, history, eco-friendly tourist
activities, and be able to introduce them to visitors as needed.
In association with the Agency for
Volunteer Service and tourism industry representatives, the HKTB
will form a Selection Committee charged with interviewing
applicants and choosing 30 Hong Kong Pals within June 2009.
Between July and September 2009, the HKTB will arrange
approximately 60 hours of training for these Hong Kong Pals.
Local specialists will provide additional knowledge of Hong
Kong living culture, such as its history, natural scenery,
artefacts and historical landmarks, arts and culture, fashion and
food and drink, to Hong Kong Pals. The specialists include cross-media artist
Craig Au Yeung; founder of China Polar Museum Foundation, Dr
Rebecca Lee; international food and wine critic Mr William Mark;
ecologist Mr Samson So; fashion designer Mr William Tang; and
previous Chief Curator of Hong Kong Museum of History, Dr Joseph
In order to ease the Hong Kong Pals into their new role, the
HKTB will also provide them with the information about the status
of Hong Kong’s tourism industry, techniques for servicing tourists
and modes of visitor spending.
should submit a completed form to the Agency for Volunteer
Service on or before May 31 for initial screening prior to
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