A friendly smile costs nothing but pays handsome dividends in terms of tourism. To foster a spirit of courtesy towards tourists and visitors, the Hong Kong Tourist Association (HKTA) and Supercharged 881 have dispatched young 'courtesy angels' throughout the territory to spread its message of goodwill. Armed with smiles and courtesy calendars, the youngsters spread the message throughout 18 districts last week. Lai Wing-lam, 12, a courtesy angel for Yau Ma Tei, Tsim Sha Tsui and Mong Kok districts said she thought most Hong Kong people were courteous, especially those engaged in service industries. Because Tsim Sha Tsui was the most popular tourist area in Hong Kong, people should welcome tourists with a smile as it left a good impression, Wing-lam said. 'But it is also important for us to treat people with courtesy in our daily lives. I will try to set a good example and hope others follow suit.' Twelve-year-old Chong Chak-yan, a courtesy angel for Eastern District, agreed that Hong Kong people were generally courteous, especially hotel personnel. But there were exceptions, Chak- yan said. 'Recently, I went shopping with my mother at a large department store where the staff made absolutely no effort to serve us. 'Their unfriendly attitude left us with bad impression and we vowed never to visit that store again. 'I think courtesy is very important because it costs nothing to be friendly,' she said. Pop stars Andy Lau Tak-wah, Cass Phang Ling and George Lam Tze-cheung will back Courtesy Ambassadors Nancy Sit Ka-yin, Jessica Suen and To Tai-yu in supporting the smile campaign. They will star in a series of four TV APIs (Announcement of Public Interest) airing later this month. Amy Chan Cheng Yi-yim, executive director of HKTA, said this year's campaign focused on enhancing courtesy in three areas - the restaurant and retail sector and the taxi industry. Ms Sit has been appointed as courtesy ambassador for the catering sector, Ms Suen for the retail sector, and Mr To for the taxi business. The tourist association believes if the frontline service sector could give visitors a lasting good impression it would impact positively on the industry. 'Tourism and the service industry play a vital role in Hong Kong's economy. As a popular tourist destination, our status can be further enhanced if visitors, here for both business and leisure, take away good memories of a friendly and helpful people. 'Having a good reputation will help increase the number of visitors to Hong Kong,' Ms Chan said.