Anette Wendel-Menke, Hong Kong Tourism Board

Jessica Alexander talks to Anette Wendel-Menke, Hong Kong Tourism Board’s new Director of UK & Northern Europe, about her new role and what clients can expect when visiting for Chinese New Year in 2024.

Tell us about your new role at Hong Kong Tourism Board.

I’ve worked for the Hong Kong Tourism Board (HKTB) since 1999 but my previous roles were focused on Central Europe markets. I’m now excited to learn about the ins and outs of the UK and Northern Europe industries, and also explore the opportunities and challenges within this region.

The UK is a hugely important market for the HKTB. It’s actually our biggest market across Pan Europe. And my primary mission will be focused on creating awareness on Hong Kong as a unique world class and highly desirable tourism destination, with the goal of bringing visitor numbers back to pre pandemic level.

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What are some of your personal Hong Kong highlights?

The iconic skyline is often what we have in the back of our minds when we think of Hong Kong but what continues to surprise me every time I visit is the natural beauty. Beyond the bustling urban landscape, Hong Kong offers a wealth of natural wonders, including mountains, hillsides, beautiful beaches, over 260 islands, hiking trails, all conveniently accessible within just a 20 minute journey thanks to the efficient public transport system.

A personal highlight for me is Hong Kong UNESCO global Geopark which is nestled inside Kong, in the New Territories of Hong Kong. It was shaped by volcanic eruptions around 140 million years ago, and is a geological wonder.

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We have different islands for example, llama Island which is a very small, picturesque Island, boasting authentic fishing villages and winding hiking trails. It’s a perfect escape from the city hustle and bustle.

For beaches, I would recommend Cheung Sha beach, which is the longest beach in Hong Kong. It’s located on Lantau Island and has golden sands and crystal clear water.

How are you working with the trade to promote Hong Kong?

In early 2023 Hong Kong removed all remaining travel restrictions. And since then, the Hong Kong Tourism Board has collaborated with key operators to promote Hong Kong holidays through both its B2B and B2C channels.

Our work with airline partners has played a major role and we have seen a vast increase in the flight capacity since travel to Hong Kong resumed with British Airways offering 14 flights a week out of London and Cathay Pacific offering 39 flights a week from London and Manchester. If you put that in context, that is around 76% of the pre pandemic level. And we hope to see more improvement in the coming year.

We will very shortly run a Pan European consumer campaign in partnership with Expedia. This one will feature tactical offers, dedicated destination microsites and social media activities. On top of that, we are conducting a B2B campaign which includes agent training quizzes, incentives, events and social activities, of course also tactical offers. And furthermore, we have plans to participate in various partner events including the Partner Exchange, their Christmas launch this year as well as their 2024 roadshow. And in the coming year, we are also excited to host our annual Chinese New Year event. For us, it is a great opportunity to celebrate the Year of the Dragon with media and industry partners.

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What can visitors expect from Chinese New Year?

Chinese New Year will be celebrated over an entire week from February 10, 2024. Three days are filled with festivals and events. We usually have a firework display in Hong Kong, which is amazing against the skyline. There are Chinese New Year horse races and flower markets and the entire city is decorated in red and gold. It’s really a special time to be in Hong Kong and celebrate a second new year.

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