Entertainment king Peter Lam named Tourism Board chief

Peter Lam takes over from James Tien at a time when not all visitors are welcomed by residents

PUBLISHED : Saturday, 23 February, 2013, 12:00am
UPDATED : Saturday, 23 February, 2013, 5:28am

Entertainment magnate Peter Lam Kin-ngok has been appointed Tourism Board chairman as James Tien Pei-chun steps down from the position after six years.

Lam's three-year term begins in April, ending the Liberal Party's domination of the top tourism job since 2001 - Selina Chow Liang Shuk-yee and Tien each held the role for six years.

Lam, who is on friendly terms with Tien, said he was honoured to be chosen.

"I've worked on the board with Mr Tien for six years and learned a lot from him," Lam said yesterday.

I've worked on the board with Mr Tien for six years and learned a lot from him

He pledged to step up the board's communication across business sectors and seek more resources for tourism development. But a challenge he faces is how to bolster tourism at a time when some residents already feel crowded out by the growing influx of mainland sightseers. Hong Kong had 48.6 million visitors last year - 34.9 million of whom came from the mainland.

Tien said Lam would have to find a balance between the economic benefits tourism brings and its toll on the city's infrastructure.

Lam has been a board member of the organisation for six years, and heads the product and events committee, which handles large events such as the Wine and Dine festival and the Summer Pop festival. As chairman of Media Asia Group, one of Hong Kong's largest film companies, his name often appears in entertainment pages.

On the political front, Lam supported Henry Tang Ying-yen in the chief executive race, and asked celebrities to speak out on the failed candidate's behalf. Tien dismissed suggestions of a political motive behind the selection of a leader outside of the Liberals, whose relationship with Chief Executive Leung Chun-ying soured after members cast blank votes in the election.