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Hotel Corner

Meet the HKHA Chairman

We spoke to Shaun Campbell, the newly elected Chairman of the Hong Kong Hotels Association and Managing Director of The Langham, Hong Kong, about his outlook for the city’s hotel industry and priorities for HKHA.
I started my career in sports marketing in Australia, where I grew up. That meant I dealt extensively with hotels as clients, and got me thinking this would be an interesting industry to be involved with. I was right.
The bulk of my career has been with three hotel companies– Marriott, Hyatt and now Langham, each during an interesting growth period. Across all three, I have seen the inspiring power of people in growing a brand, and bringing it to life. I have been fortunate to work with some great teams that have created so many great memories for guests. It continues to be easy to go to work each day!
Whilst demand from China has definitely softened in recent years, across our HKHA member hotels we still enjoyed occupancies constantly above 80%, which is considered robust for most markets. Regardless, Hong Kong’s hotel industry has been always resilient and we continue to improve our standards and product offerings to meet market challenges. We are seeing some recovery in other short-haul and long-haul markets, and with 2017 likely to be a fairly stable year with moderate growth.
Our association, the HKHA, will continue to engage actively with HKTB and the government to ensure that we keep Hong Kong relevant and exciting as a key must-visit destination in Asia. The “Best of All it’s in Hong Kong” campaign was pleasing to see, and the result of this regular dialogue, which projects a stronger image of Hong Kong’s personality – through local eyes – should help sharpen Hong Kong’s image and tourism positioning.
To boost visitor arrivals, as we did in 2016, we will continue to collaborate with HKTB on short breaks for couples and families, as well as support for bringing mid-size group and incentive business. 
With respect to our tourism sector, I believe our biggest challenge is to continue to communicate our destination story in as many creative and compelling ways as we can. Hong Kong tourism is still very robust, but we are also not the only option for the large China outbound market and short-haul Asian travellers. We’re in a much smaller media world, where it is easier for emerging destinations like Myanmar and a recovering Japan to make noise and gain share within leisure and conference travel sectors. 
Hong Kong has such a can-do culture, we need to continue to tell our Hong Kong story and leverage all the attributes that our destination has – safe, clean and easy to move around; great culinary experiences with rich diversity of cuisines; and fabulous, approachable local people that assist visitors getting around.
What I like best about Hong Kong is the people – I have been lucky enough to live and work in so many destinations across Asia, India and the Pacific. Hong Kong is the longest posting I have had in my career, and it’s always such a pleasure to live and work with highly talented locals amid a diverse expat community. 
As to recommendations for visitors, I would suggest trying out our latest offerings. Hong Kong embraces new ideas so quickly and creatively, two of the latest being local craft beers and the food truck scene. A trip to Kennedy Town or Mongkok gives visitors the chance to sample both.
(Edited on 3 Mar 2017)


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