Tourism is one of the business sectors that has been greatly affected by the Coronavirus. With people not travelling overseas, are there any new opportunities to be had at home? The HKU Development & Alumni Affairs Office launches Fireside Wednesday, a series of 10 episodes for young alumni and students to find their passion and paths.
First episode with guest host Stephen Chan (BA 1981), and guests Paul Chan (LLB 2001; PCLL 2002), Rubio Chan (BA 2012), Jamie Cheung (BA 2013), talk about tourism and innovation, and how to look for new partners, opportunities and resources.
Paul, Founder of Walk in Hong Kong, notes: “Many tourists come to Hong Kong and complain this place is boring. In fact, Hong Kong is full of fun and interesting spots. But the tourism business here doesn’t showcase this fun side.” He found that the “blue sea” of tourism in Hong Kong, for example, Temple Street in Yau Ma Tei, offers lots of stories to tell. When he was working on the preservation of the State Theatre in Hong Kong, he invited the descendant of the Theatre’s founder Molly Odell to do the oral history. “As long as you pay attention to detail, you will make many amazing discoveries in Hong Kong.”
“Now, we should not only be fighting the virus but looking to potential challenges ahead. We should equip ourselves to get ready for when the virus isn’t such a threat.” In a city facing numerous difficulties, Paul said Hong Kong is not in a good position, and people don’t think it’s worth visiting here. He believes that, during this time, we should discover new themes for Hong Kong, such as the countryside, healthy food, even the developments of Hong Kong medicine. “By turning difficulties into opportunities, the days will be better,” says Paul.
“Nothing can be worse than it is now, so why not throw caution to the wind and try out new things?”
GLO Travel co-founders Rubio and Jamie started their own travel “experiment’ when they were HKU students by organising in-depth travel tours. With all their cumulative experiences, their startup has grown very fast these past few years. Their tours include Iran, Bhutan, Ukraine, Central Asia, Middle East….. Their North Korea tour was the first of its kind in Hong Kong. “Paying attention to the links with society of the places you go to is important for the travel experience.”
Jamie said the past eight years have been smooth but, at the same time, they admit they may have missed some opportunities to improve their products. They are using this time to look into and fine tune their products. For instance, working at home with more time on the internet, they have been doing live Facebook chats, finding partners to become involved in the production of their travel programme, and of course trying to make enhancements. “The coronavirus shouldn’t be an excuse. You must always put in your effort and time, and try your best. If you find things you like, problems should have their solutions. “says Jamie.
Rubio, “Trust the power of the Internet; it makes things so much easier. Find a mentor to give you advice. Now can be a good time for a startup, beginning with something on the internet with a low initial cost. With concrete ideas, you may be able to find investors.”
Stephen says, “University education is the time to search for your own interests and goals. Contribute to and play a role in society to your best ability. If you have new ideas, don’t just keep them to yourself, instead act on them.”
Fireside Wednesday 星期三開爐 new online series presented by Development & Alumni Affairs Office for the HKU Family – alumni, students, staff and friends – to connect with each other for partnership, passion and paths. The 10 episodes will cover tourism, retail, culture, social, NGOs, freelancing (slash), education, technology… Resources and support available to students and fresh graduates at HKU iDendron. Tell us if you want to suggest themes and speakers for future episodes. Share and stay tuned!
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