Tourism sector under threat
Facing a huge challenge this year amid the bird flu threat and growing global competition for mainland visitors, Hong Kong Tourism Board chairwoman Selina Chow urged the public to invite more of their friends to visit the SAR.
"I hope we'll be able to survive under these threats," she said in an interview. "If bird flu breaks out and becomes transmissible among humans, local tourism will be worse than that during SARS."
The 2003 SARS outbreak killed 299 people in Hong Kong and slashed the number of long-haul tourists to the territory by 90 percent, with shopping malls, restaurants and the airport looking like graveyards.
The bird flu threat has already forced the government to delay the scheduled spring opening of north Tin Shui Wai's Hong Kong Wetland Park, a landmark ecotourism project with a 60-hectare nature reserve populated by a chorus of birds. The government hopes the park, along with the recently-opened Disneyland and the Lantau cable car project slated to open in June, would help attract visitors to the city, especially families, who tend to spend more than most other categories of tourists.
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Source : The Standard News (HK)