This paper examines the relevance and importance of the Internet for researching information and making on-line reservations for tourism products in Hong Kong. Most academic paper has addressed about Information Communication Technologies (ICTs) and the use of the Internet has focus on how suppliers of the online tourism demand and use of their consumer website in the Fast Moving Consumer Good’s industry. This paper approaches the use of the Internet from a tourism demand perspective and looks at the profile of international visitors to the Hong Kong that use the Internet. 200 people were interviewed from 10 October 2010 to 30 October 2010 and were asked if they used the Internet to find information about the destination and if they made reservations. The sample had certain level of experience bias among those frequent repeat tour package visitors (FRTPVs) traveling comes from the Mainland China to Hong Kong and therefore one would assume that they would be familiar with the region and the tourism products, the results found that those repeat tour package visitors still used the Internet to search for information and make reservations. The study neglected the age group below 16 years old segment. The study had only 35% of the total sample using the Internet and although this may seem low the results from this investigation are relevant as they indicate that international tourists use the Internet and it is important for tourism service providers to maintain an up-to-date web page and have facilities for online reservations as people who use the Internet to search for information went on to make on-line reservations.
Technology and more specifically Information Communication Technologies (ICTs) are being utilized by the tourism and hospitality industry globally. Hong Kong Tourism Board (HKTB) heavily relies on web based promotion in targeting the highly interactive traveler. Hong Kong Hotel Association (HKHA) and the Travel Industry Council (TIC) have a web presence and linked to the HKTB website. Individual tourism operators, tourist attractions, event organisers, restaurants and hotels have been encouraged through their web pages and have a web presence, chiefly through links with the HKTB. Through their own webpage and these links tourism service providers in Hong Kong seemingly have access to the on-line population of the world.
Most tourism service providers are local owned, small and medium size enterprises that have limited financial resources, expertise and time to establish and maintain an up to date website. However, the use of ICTs generally, and more specially Internet use by the tourism industry, is driven by tourism demand (Buhalis, 2003). The HKTB want to know how many visitors visit Hong Kong used the Internet firstly to gather information before travel and secondly to make reservations. This data was important to the HKTB to provide convincing evidence to the tourism service providers of the importance of either establishing and/or maintaining an up-to-date web presence.
Hong Kong has a large volume of FRTPVs in the peak autumn and winter months originating mainly from Mainland China. International visitors have been steadily increasing over the last 10 years, attracting Business traveler, Leisure tourists such as FITs and family group from South East Asia. More importantly international visitors in the shoulder periods, either side of spring, from February to April, have lengthened the tourism season for all service providers. Leisure tourism has been slower to take off on the Internet with business travel representing the highest portion of travelers who are using the Internet to gather information on a destination and to make on-line travel reservations (Buhalis, 2003). The HKTB is chiefly a convention, exhibition, events, trade fair and package tour oriented destination attracting business travelers and family tour therefore a low...