The Hong Kong Tourism Board has recruited Dane Cheng as its new executive director, with plans to promote the troubled destination “when the time is right”.

The chairman of the tourism body Dr Pang Yiu-kai said: “I am very pleased to have Mr Cheng joining the HKTB at this moment in time when the tourism industry faces huge challenges.

“I am certain that Mr Cheng will lead the team to overcome the current difficulties.

“Later, when the time is right, he will join forces with the travel trade and other sectors to launch a far-reaching global promotion, attracting visitors from every continent back to Hong Kong and rebuilding Hong Kong’s reputation as one of the world’s leading travel destinations.”

Pro-democracy protests in recent months have severely hit business and leisure travel to Hong Kong, with tourist numbers in August almost half their usual level.

After graduating from the Chinese University of Hong Kong in 1986, Cheng joined Cathay Pacific and held senior positions in head office as well as various regions.

Before joining the HKTB, he was an executive director of real estate company Hang Lung Properties.

He said: “Despite the situation facing the tourism industry, Hong Kong has strong fundamentals, and offers visitors a diversity of unique experiences, which have helped the city through many challenges in upholding its status as a world-class destination.

“With my experience in the industry, I look forward to leading our team to deal with the challenges and work closely with our trade partners to maintain Hong Kong’s status as a preferred travel destination.”

He replaces Anthony Lau who left the role upon completion of his contract on July 31.

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