Hong Kong Polytechnic University has introduced a new tool: the GBA Tourism Forecasting Platform. The system is designed to analyze data from the Greater Bay Area (GBA), the central government’s ambitious plan to connect nine cities in the provinces of Hong Kong, Macau and Guangdong into a powerful economic and trade hub.
The School of Hotel and Tourism Management has created a tourism forecasting platform powered by artificial intelligence (AI) and econometric models. GBA aims to be a world leader and a major tourist destination by 2035.
However, the GBA is facing a number of challenges in the wake of the COVID-19 pandemic, including slowing growth in the global economy, especially in mainland China, the impact of inflation on travel costs and changes in tourist behavior .
Policymakers and operators need to accurately forecast tourism demand to develop sustainable tourism strategies. According to experts, a long- and short-term forecasting platform will use publicly available official information, such as monthly tourist arrivals, and big data analyzes performed by artificial intelligence from websites such as Baidu, Google and Ctrip.
Tourist numbers in Hong Kong are expected to return to 2018 levels by the end of 2025, with 94 million visitors expected by 2027. Macau, along with other Bay Area cities, is also expected to fully recover by 2024.
In 2023, Hong Kong welcomed 34 million tourists, about 65% of pre-Covid levels. In contrast, Macau received 28.3 million visitors, equivalent to 71% of the 2019 figure.
Last month, the platform surveyed visitors’ feelings about safety and culture in Hong Kong. The results show that Safety and Culture receive the highest score of 1, while Tourism, Recreation, Landscape and Resident Acceptance follow closely with a score of around 0.9.
On the other hand, climate and perceived risk received low scores, around 0.2. Additionally, the city’s dining scene scored just 0.39, prompting experts to call for better service quality, especially at smaller restaurants.
Fewer people shopping in Hong Kong does not necessarily indicate dissatisfaction. Instead, due to behavioral changes, especially among the younger generations, tourists are looking for greater diversity in tourism products and services.