The Last Word: Andrew Clark, Hong Kong Tourism Board

Hong Kong Tourism Board, Andrew Clark

Andrew Clark has been with the Hong Kong Tourism Board since 2003, following stints at Northern Territory Tourist Commission, Australia’s Wonderland and Tourism NSW. Born in Bath and raised on a farm, Clark moved to London to study and work. His first foray into the travel world was as a tour operator in the south of France. discoverhongkong.com/au 

When did you start out in the travel industry?

Having graduated in biological sciences at the University of London, I started my career as a graduate business trainee with Unilever’s agricultural division. After about four years, I decided I wanted to enter the burgeoning leisure sector and joined Ladbroke’s Casino division where I worked as a croupier in Knightsbridge, in London’s West End. Following this, I moved to France to work for a tour operator. This role ignited my passion for the travel and tourism industry and, since then, I haven’t felt the urge to change industries again.

Hong Kong, Hong Kong Tourism Board, Asia,

What is it you love about your job and working in the travel industry?

Working with my team in particular. Also, the ever-changing marketing and tourism landscape and how consumers continually evolve the way they research, plan and book their travel. Then, how this impacts what strategy and resources are required to effectively inspire and influence them, through to not only the point of purchase but also so they share their experience with friends and family. Lastly, dealing with a wide variety of stakeholders from airlines, travel trade and media, through to colleagues and industry partners in Hong Kong.

HOng Kong, Hong Kong Tourism Board,

For people who haven’t been to Hong Kong before, what are the Top 5 places you recommend they go?

  1. Old Town Central always has a great vibe and things happening. You can also pick up one of our guidebooks, which has several self-guided routes to follow at your own leisure.
  2. Sham Shui Po is a very old part of Hong Kong, but a relatively new area for visitors to explore. It’s known as the haberdashery district, with stores dedicated to fabrics, buttons, belt buckles, umbrellas and much more. It also showcases the contrast between old and new and, in fact, the younger generations are starting to return to districts like Sham Shui Po to help run the family business.
  3. Lamma Island is a top spot for a hike with rewarding views, followed by a seafood feast. What’s not to love?
  4. Victoria Harbour – watch the recently re-choreographed nightly laser and sound show, A Symphony of Lights, on a traditional junk boat. This is by far the best vantage point away from the crowds plus you can clearly hear the synchronised music by the Hong Kong Philharmonic Orchestra.
  5. Tai O Fishing Village – Tai O is a fishing town located on the western side of Lantau Island. The community build their houses on stilts and it’s like stepping back in time and a great way to experience the authentic Hong Kong culture.
Hong Kong Tourism Board, shopping in Hong Kong, Andrew Clark

What are your favourite restaurants in Hong Kong?

With more than 14,000 restaurants there are too many to choose from but, if I had to pick, it would be Hutong for northern Chinese dishes with a modern twist and great views in Tsim Sha Tsui; Monogamous Goose for Peking duck, Central; Tim Ho Wan for best pork buns, in Sham Shui Po; and Rainbow Seafood Restaurant for fresh seafood, Lamma Island.

What do you think has changed most about Hong Kong over the last decade?

Old Town Central has changed the most. It is now home to cutting-edge design galleries and boutiques that merge into trendy restaurants and bars in the evening. Just wandering the streets of Old Town Central is an activity in itself with intriguing architecture, street art, and not to mention the people watching. I could sit at a cafe for hours taking in the atmosphere.

Where in the world would you love to visit that you haven’t been to before?

Top of my list is Eastern Europe and Buenos Aires. I love a place that offers a diverse and different culture, cuisine and atmosphere.

You live in Sydney. Where do you take international or interstate visitors?

I normally take visitors on the ferry over to Manly: you can’t go past our harbour and Manly has a different vibe that people often don’t associate with Sydney. I’m also a fan of the new Barangaroo development near Darling Harbour: it has some great alfresco dining and bars.

What tips do you have for people starting out in the travel industry?

The travel industry is small and there are no secrets so don’t BS – you’ll soon get found out! Deliver on your promises but also go the extra mile when possible. People may not thank you directly but it is always noted.

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