Entertainment magnate Peter Lam Kin-ngok has pledged to use his star status to help attract visitors to Hong Kong in his new role as Tourism Board chairman.
"I know I might have a conflict of interest," Lam, who takes over from James Tien Pei-chun next month, said yesterday. "But I will make good use of my position to recruit more people to promote our city, especially those from the entertainment sector."
However, he acknowledged the need to review Hong Kong's capacity to handle more tourists. "My responsibility is to promote tourism, but I am a Hongkonger too, and I have heard that the public wonder whether we can serve so many tourists each year. We have to strike a balance," said Lam, chairman of Media Asia Group, one of Hong Kong's largest film companies.
His three-year posting ends the Liberal Party's domination of the top tourism job since 2001 - party members Selina Chow Liang Shuk-yee and Tien each held the role for six years.
Lam has been a board member of the organisation for six years and heads the events committee, which handles the Wine and Dine festival and the Summer Pop festival among others.
Tien welcomed his successor, saying: "I am fully confident that our new chairman Peter Lam can take Hong Kong tourism to a higher level."
Tien said during his term the board had improved the regulation of travel agencies but there had still been abuses, including forced shopping and the recent case of tourists sleeping on their coach due to a booking mix-up.
Tien added: "And two years ago, various stakeholders … reached a consensus to set up a Travel Industry Authority. I believe similar incidents won't happen again."