As visitor arrivals and hotel occupancy in Hong Kong hit record levels this year due to the pandemic, the newly elected president of the Hong Kong Hotels Association (HKHA), Peter Wong, faces a formidable challenge ahead, taking up his new role for a two-year term (2020-2022).
With over 38 years of operations and management experience, Wong has been a member of the association’s executive committee since 2008. He is currently senior vice president of the hotel division of Sun Hung Kai Properties and general manager of the Royal Plaza hotel. Having joined the Royal Plaza Hotel in 2005 as General Manager until now, Wong also oversees the other three hotels of Royal Hotels Hong Kong, namely the Royal Park Hotel, the Royal View Hotel and the Alva Hotel by Royal, as well as other partner hotels and a new hotel. opening of projects belonging to SHKP.
Since taking office at the end of August, one of Wong’s most urgent tasks has been to work with the association’s committee to provide support and assistance to its 141 existing members and to the entire industry to overcome the pandemic at a time when travel remains largely on the status quo with uncertain short-term prospects.
Insisting on the need for industrial cooperation rather than competition, he also urged the government to reopen the borders between Hong Kong and mainland China and provide additional support to relevant players.
“We again urge the government to further expand the employment support program or government grants of a similar magnitude, in order to provide support to hotels,” he said, noting that once the With the second cycle of ESS completed this month, around a quarter of the 38,000 full-time hotel jobs will be at risk.
“Frankly, we hotels cannot survive just on stay / local business traffic without any inbound traffic,” he added. “Plus, I know some homeowners have taken out loans to keep their businesses running. Therefore, substantial government grants are absolutely necessary to alleviate their financial anxiety. “
Highlighting the industry’s efforts to maintain good health and safety standards, Wong said the association “is making efforts to further relax the number of dinner guests as well as organize banquets and events. small-scale events “.
In addition to his new appointment to HKHA, Wong is also a member of the 90-member board of directors of the Hong Kong Hotel Owners Federation, whose hotel holding members collectively own more than 90 percent of all rooms at HKHA. city hall – a role which he said can help promote greater collaboration with HKHA.
Of the 141 HKHA members, about 60 percent are made up of unbranded hotels. “Some of them are new to the industry and don’t know much about the business, so we can offer them inputs,” Wong said.
The association will celebrate its 60th anniversary next year, and Wong hopes to take the opportunity to promote the history, development and achievements of the Hong Kong hospitality industry.
In an effort to tackle the severe labor shortage in the hospitality industry, it has partnered with the Education Office to organize career talks and roadshows next year. in high schools, where HKHA committee members share their career paths to inspire the next generation. of leaders. To date, more than 10 schools have registered. In addition, a dedicated IT committee will be formed to consolidate the development of smart technologies, with technological talents to be recruited from member hotels.