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Friday, August 19, 2016, 00:09

Young Ambassadors aim to make HK more hospitable

By Li Xiange

HONG KONG - Over 250 local youth on Thursday were officially appointed Hong Kong Young Ambassadors - in a scheme aimed at promoting the city's tourism. The ambassadors will participate in receiving visitors in Hong Kong and promoting a culture of hospitality.

After appointment by the city's tourism authority, the ambassadors will be stationed at the city's major tourist spots, such as Ocean Park Hong Kong and Harbour City, to receive visitors. They are also expected to participate in major campaigns to promote Hong Kong's festivities, according to the Tourism Commission (TC).

Promotional activities at school or the community will also be organized to spread the message of hospitality, according to the TC.

Those who study outside Hong Kong will be tasked with organizing promotional activities about Hong Kong and Chinese culture at their schools and colleges to promote Hong Kong as a preferred tourist destination.

According to TC statistics, fourteen out of the 253 appointed ambassadors will further study outside Hong Kong this year.

Speaking at the ceremony, Commissioner for Tourism Cathy Chu Man-ling expressed her optimism about the ambassadors promoting Hong Kong's image as one of the world's leading tourism destinations.

The SAR government will continue trying to attract more visitors. Community-based tourism and creative industries are expected to play their roles in bringing in tourists, Chu said.

Chairman of Hong Kong Tourism Board (HKTB) Peter Lam Kin-ngok said given the rebound of tourists to Hong Kong last month, he is confident the upward trend could continue. He also noted that the appreciation of Japanese yen and unstable conditions in Europe offered opportunities for Hong Kong.

The city's number of tourist arrivals had witnessed an uptick in July, first time in the last 13 months, according to HKTB statistics.

The number of mainland visitors, who make up three-quarters of total visitor numbers, grew 2.2 per cent from a year earlier, and helped push the overall arrival figure back.

Participants of the scheme are required to attend a series of training activities to enhance their knowledge about Hong Kong. Activities include talks, workshops, visits and team-building training.

Students who had previously attended the programs largely felt they had benefited from the experience. Angus Wong Chun-hong, who joined the schemes in 2014 and 2015, was upbeat about it. Thanks to this experience, he gained a greater sense of belonging to Hong Kong. He said he has become more sympathetic toward others. "Apart from helping the tourists, the program has offered us a good platform to grow," Wong said.

Ashley Chin Tsz-yan, who is now studying in Britain, joined the scheme last year. She said she always shared with her foreign friends Hong Kong's delicacies, beautiful scenic spots. Chin had also kept writing blogs about Hong Kong, which had interested many foreigners.

A newly appointed ambassador Patrick Pang Ming-kin,18, expects to do his part in promoting the hospitable image of Hong Kong. "Owing to the training and sharing from students who previously joined the scheme, we are confident of providing good services to tourists to Hong Kong," Pang added.

The Hong Kong Young Ambassador Scheme is organized by the Tourism Commission and the Hong Kong Federation of Youth Groups. The scheme has attracted more than 3,400 students since it was launched in 2001.

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