Hong Kong Tourism Board
|Headquarters||9-11/F, Citicorp Centre, 18 Whitfield Road, Causeway Bay, Hong Kong|
|Annual budget||HK$613.6m (2008–09) |
|Hong Kong Tourism Board|
The Hong Kong Tourism Board (HKTB) (Traditional Chinese: 香港旅遊發展局) is a Government-subvented body founded in 2001. The Board replaced the Hong Kong Tourist Association (HKTA) (Traditional Chinese: 香港旅遊協會) established in 1957. It has 15 branch offices and 5 representative offices around the world, and its primary mission is to maximise the social and economic contribution that tourism makes to the community of Hong Kong, and consolidate the city's position as a desired destination. In fulfilling this, it works with the Government, travel industry and other partners to market and promote Hong Kong worldwide, improve the range and quality of visitor facilities and tourism service standards, and enhance the experiences of visitors once they have arrived.
- Hong Kong International Airport – Transfer Area and Buffer Halls A and B, Arrivals Level, Terminal 1
- Lo Wu – Arrival Hall, 2/F, Lo Wu Terminal Building, Lo Wu Control Point
- Hong Kong Island – The Peak Piazza
- Kowloon – Star Ferry Concourse, Tsim Sha Tsui
Quality Tourism Services (QTS) scheme
Launched in November 1999, the Quality Tourism Services (QTS) Scheme (Traditional Chinese: 優質旅遊服務) is an accreditation programme aimed at promoting service excellence among local businesses and assisting customers to identify quality service providers. To qualify, merchant must fulfill stringent criteria and undergo annual assessment. All accredited merchants must display the gold and black QTS sign on their shop windows for recognition.
Initially, shops and restaurants were the only 2 categories covered by the QTS scheme. The scheme was extended to visitor accommodations and hair salons in November 2006 and March 2010 respectively.
As at March 2010, over 7,200 merchant outlets have been accredited under the QTS scheme. The QTS scheme is one of the most successful consumer protection programmes in Hong Kong. The Intellectual Property Department reported in 2008 that 4,700 outlets had joined its "No Fakes Pledge" – another well-known consumer protection programme in the territory.
After the launch of the QTS scheme, the use of membership badges bearing the iconic red junk logos of the former HKTA was discontinued in 2000. The HKTA membership badge was first introduced in 1965.
Starring famous Hong Kong actor/singer/producer Andy Lau, the 2003 commercial was inspired by Lau's 2002 blockbuster movie Infernal Affairs – a movie about an undercover cop and a bad cop working for the triads. The core message of the commercial is shops selling genuine goods and providing high standard service should set themselves apart from dishonest merchants by getting the QTS accreditation. The commercial has been aired from time to time till these days.
The QTS commercial is often confused with another public service announcement (PSA) promoting quality services which was also fronted by Andy Lau. The PSA was filmed in 2002 by the Information Services Department. There were 5 different versions all featuring rude vs. courteous shop assistants and drivers. Titled "Success Starts with Quality Service" (優質服務 致勝之道), the PSA was a huge success as one of Lau's lines, "Service like this just isn't good enough in today's standard"(今時今日咁嘅服務態度未夠架) has become a popular Hong Konger slang used to describe a poor service or a bad tempered person.
Simply by presenting his/her travel document and a copy of QTS promotional leaflet at a participating QTS merchant, visitor could enjoy special privileges ranging from exclusive discount to small gift (e.g. a free silk tee for purchasing a suit at a custom tailor). In addition to displaying the QTS gold and black sign, participating QTS merchants would also display the red VIP Offers sign as recognition. The VIP Offers programme was discontinued on 31 Dec 2008.
Investigations were launched against one of the 3D-GOLD outlets after 40 customers complained they had been harassed by staff and prevented from leaving the shop. The entire 3D-GOLD chain store was stripped of its QTS status with effect from 1 Dec 2004. This was the first termination in the scheme's history.
The original 3D-GOLD Jewellery Holdings got into more controversies with the sudden death of its chairman, delisting from the stock exchange and it was on the verge of liquidation by the end of 2008. In July 2009, the jeweller was officially taken over by Hong Kong Resources Holdings (SEHK: 2882).
The QTS status of the new 3D-GOLD chain was later reinstated after it had passed the assessment.
Director of Audit's report
The Audit Commission carried out a comprehensive audit on the HKTB in 2006 – 07. In the report released in October 2007, an entire section was devoted to the QTS scheme. The commission made 3 recommendations suggesting HKTB should take action to improve the scheme and reduce the number of complaints, explore ways to achieve self-financing and encourage more operators to apply for the QTS Visitor Accommodation Scheme. In response, HKTB committed to create more places in the quality training workshops for merchants and co-operate with the Home Affairs Department to proactively promote QTS Visitor Accommodation Scheme.
Bird's nest vendors
The QTS status of 3 merchants specialised in bird's nest – a Chinese delicacy – were terminated on 27 July 2007. The 3 merchants had publicly admitted infringement of another merchant's trademark.
In a bid to save HK$2 million annually (US$256,000) in operating costs, HKTB announced on 5 Nov 2010 that the assessment work of QTS merchants has been outsourced to the Productivity Council, while the work to engage merchants to offer discounts for visitors has been outsourced to AQ Communications. The saving will fund extra marketing work for the QTS scheme. As a result, the jobs of 17 permanent and contract staff of the Partnership & Quality Tourism Services Department had been made redundant with immediate effect. Only 5 staff would be retained to monitor the outsourced work.
Local media reported that the staff affected were first notified at 3pm on the same day of the announcement and were asked to leave by day's end. They were given compensation in accordance with the local labour laws but were denied internal transfer to other vacant positions within the organisation. A staff had expressed anger at being kept in the dark about the tendering of the outsourced work in a newspaper interview.
HKTB Deputy Executive Director Daisy Lam later reiterated to the media at an event launch function that the outsourcing was a result of an organizational review conducted a year ago in 2009.
In an interview to local newspapers, Legislator Lee Cheuk-yan questioned about the quality of work after the outsourcing. Lee also concerned that the affected staff will be unable to secure another job as the end of the year nears. Another lawmaker Wong Kwok-hing critisied HKTB for setting a bad example and he feared the private sector may follow suit.
Daisy Lam responded to critics that in addition to compensation, those affected may consider a transfer to the two outsourced bodies. Lam was not worried others would follow HKTB's move as other companies should make their own judgment call.
- Hong Kong Tourism Board (1 April 2010). "Press Release: HKTB EXTENDS QUALITY TOURISM SERVICES SCHEME TO HAIRDRESSING INDUSTRY".
- Intellectual Property Department (19 July 2008). "Press Release: 10th anniversary celebration of "No Fakes Pledge" scheme" (PDF).
- Hong Kong Tourism Board (2008). "HKTB Annual Report 2007/2008 – 50 Years of Hong Kong Tourism" (PDF).
- Hong Kong Tourism Board (19 December 2003). "Press Release: Quality Tourism Services Scheme Enhancement Ensures Better Protection For Visitors".[permanent dead link]
- Hong Kong Tourism Board (2003). "Quality Tourism Services (QTS) Scheme API".
- Information Services Department (2002). "TV Announcement: Success Starts with Quality Service".
- Information Services Department (2002). "優質服務 致勝之道".
- Hong Kong Tourism Board (23 February 2005). "Press Release: Termination of QTS Status of 3D-GOLD".
- Audit Commission (October 2007). "Report No. 49 of the Director of Audit" (PDF).
- Hong Kong Tourism Board (December 2007). "Director of Audit No. 49 – Hong Kong Tourism Board Summary of Improvement Measures" (PDF).
- Hong Kong Tourism Board (27 July 2007). "Press Release: Statement of Termination".
- South China Morning Post (6 November 2010). "Tourism Board cutbacks queried".
- Apple Daily (6 November 2010). "旅發局縮開支 炒17人".
- Oriental Daily (6 November 2010). "旅發局年尾炒17人".
- Hong Kong Daily News (8 November 2010). "「優質旅遊」外判 旅發局17員工遣散".
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