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Hong Kong & Taiwan Combo Plate

The Easy Way To Introduce Clients To Asia

Many well-travelled Canadians are shifting directions and looking east for their next travel experience.

Trips by Canadians to Taiwan increased 5% over the last year, and to Hong Kong a 4.6% increase YTD July. The same year saw an opposite trend for traditional markets such as the UK, down by 2.7%, France down by 0.2%, and the Netherlands, down by 9%. That suggests there’s a strong business case to be made for developing the skill set to meet the growing demand for travel to the Far East.

Nantou Tea Farm

Nantou Tea Farm, Taiwan

But the prospect of selling Asia can seem overwhelming. Where to begin? One of the easiest ways to break it down for first time travellers is to recommend affordable and compatible destinations such as Hong Kong and Taiwan. Each offers a distinct experience – one vibrant city life, the other bucolic country living – as complementary as they are fascinating, and combined, a wonderful introduction to the region.

“From the Hong Kong perspective, the multi-destination strategy – especially with the Canadian market – has been a major strategy for many years,” said Michael Lim, Director, Canada, Central & South Americas at the Hong Kong Tourism Board.

“Last year, 93% of the Canadian leisure market [that visited Hong Kong] went beyond, visiting multiple destinations, so we started looking for partners around the region. Looking at statistics, Taiwan has gained a lot of appeal in the Canadian market and there have been numerous increases in flights [between Canada and Taiwan] as well.”

Tour operators have embraced the Hong Kong-Taiwan combination

When the HKTB floated the concept of a two-destination vacation to their tour operator partners here in Canada, the answer was a resounding “yes,” and from that, the ‘2Stories, One Trip’ campaign was born.

Hong Kong WongTaiSin View from lionrock

Hong kong. View from Lion Rock

With the two destinations a quick 90-minute flight from one another, and over 60 flights a day running almost every 20 minutes, spending time in each place – even if the total number of days in the region is limited – is very feasible.

“When we looked at how cosmopolitan Hong Kong is, and then looked at the contrast with Taiwan and how beautiful it is in nature, it just matched perfectly,” continued Lim. “We also looked at the target audience [for both destinations] and it was very similar.”

As part of the campaign, the HKTB has launched the site 2storiesonetrip.com, which contains a wealth of information about Taiwan and Hong Kong. There’s a ‘Taiwan & Hong Kong For First Timers’ section, which highlights the many attractions and experiences that should be on everyone’s ‘must-see, must-do’ list (think Hong Kong’s Star Ferry across Victoria Harbour and the Penghu archipelago in Taiwan).

A ‘Cultural Celebrations & Round Island Cycling’ section includes details on Taiwan’s lantern and cycling festivals and Hong Kong’s Great November Feast, among others; and a ‘Nature’s Wanderlust & Asia’s World City’ which highlights some of the many great experiences that await, including visiting Taiwan’s MaoKong Tea Farm or Sun Moon Lake, or Hong Kong’s eclectic neighbourhoods.

“Every dollar you’re spending has great value” – HKTB’s Michael Lim

“Asia is too expensive,” some clients might assume, but the reality is different – Lim points to the ‘Hot Deals’ section of the website as illustration. Among the various vacation packages listed, Campbell Travel, for example, offers eight-night packages (three nights in Taipei and five in Hong Kong) including hotel and flights on Air Canada from Vancouver to Hong Kong from just $1,088 plus tax per person. That price is less than many all-inclusive vacation packages to the Caribbean.

“But it’s not only about cost, it’s also about value,” said Lim. “I believe Asia has that; every dollar you’re spending has great value.”

With two destinations rich in culture and experiences, Lim recommends visitors give themselves a bit of time in each place. “The average Canadian visitor spends four nights [in Hong Kong], but many people come back saying they wished they had spent a week. If they plan on visiting both Hong Kong and Taiwan, they should spend a minimum of 10 to 14 days to do it properly.”

As for what he’d like travel agents to know, Lim stresses it’s all about education. “Many agents are already familiar with Hong Kong, but we also need to increase awareness of Taiwan to make it easier for agents to sell to their clients,” said Lim, adding the HKTB has just completed a seminar series for agents together with tour operator partners.

For information on the campaign and more coming, agents can visit 2storiesonetrip.com or check out the HKTB’s trade site at partnernet.hktb.com for information about the destination, along with training opportunities, upcoming events, tour planning and more.

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