Air pollution was being tackled with 'great urgency' to boost tourism and make Hong Kong a world-class city, Tung Chee-hwa told travel industry representatives yesterday. Speaking at the opening of the 49th Pacific Asia Travel Association's conference at the Hong Kong Convention and Exhibition Centre, the Chief Executive said the Government was doing its utmost to improve air quality and the environment would be cleaner soon. 'Without clean air and clean water we cannot fully achieve our goal of being a world city,' he said. 'Last October I set some ambitious targets for cutting air pollution by 2005, by which time our air quality will compare favourably with that of major cities such as New York and London. We will be implementing necessary measures with a great sense of urgency.' The tourism industry contributes nearly five per cent of gross domestic product. About 10.5 million people visited last year, boosting the economy by about $53 billion. Hong Kong Tourist Association chairwoman Selina Chow Liang Shuk-yee said pollution was not as serious as in other regions and she believed the cancellation of an international conference due to poor air was an isolated case. 'It's a pity the conference was cancelled but hundreds and thousands will come and it is not a trend that conferences will be cancelled due to environmental issues,' she said. Hotels have raised tariffs sharply in response to demand over the past few weeks. Mrs Chow said the industry should aim for long-term benefits to secure tourism development. 'Tariffs are designed and adjusted by the market. But we don't want sharp rises. We hope the industry is planning to meet market needs,' she said. Secretary for Economic Services Stephen Ip Shu-kwan urged hotels last week not to raise tariffs as it may threaten the tourism revival.