The Travel Industry Council (TIC) said approximately 1,600 itineraries of in-depth or thematic travel had been registered under the Characteristic Local Tourism Incentive Scheme as of the end of March.

This came after the government incentivized the travel trade starting this year to develop more tourism products with cultural and heritage elements to spur industry innovation.

Travel agencies could apply to receive cash incentives ranging from HK$200 to HK$400 for each participant in thematic or in-depth travel they serve. Each agency’s incentives are capped at 100 local and 100 inbound tourists.

Participating travel agencies must register their tour itineraries with the TIC in advance and submit an application for incentives after the tour takes place. 

TIC said about 73 percent of the tours have been completed and applied for cash incentives.

Fanny Yeung Shuk-fan, the TIC’s executive director, said she was impressed by the positive impact of the scheme. She noted the industry’s impressive display of renewed creativity and innovation in developing unique tour products.

Ronald Wu Keng-hou, a travel agency manager, emphasized the importance of government support in designing new programs. He said the scheme empowers agencies to create immersive experiences that showcase the best of Hong Kong and leave strong impressions on the tourists.

Jeff, a traveler who had visited Hong Kong over half a century ago, expressed his delight at witnessing the city’s remarkable transformation after joining one of the special themed tours.

“There is no way we could have found all this information by coming here for a short time, so to have all that information from a tour guide with so much knowledge is very valuable.” 

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