Crisis Strategy Thwarts SARS Effect on Hong Kong Tourism

DCI’s swift response to the SARS crisis in Hong Kong ensured the long-term preservation of our brand reputation in the North American market.”

Lilly Shum, Regional Director – The Americas, Hong Kong Tourism Board


The Challenge

SARS had devastated tourism to Hong Kong. Once travel advisories were lifted, the Hong Kong Tourism Board needed to swiftly reassure travelers that the city was safe again.


The DCI Strategy

Launched an aggressive media relations program targeting top business and leisure travel journalists to showcase to consumers that Hong Kong was safe for visitation.


The Results

  • Release issued within minutes of the advisory lifting appeared on news and travel web sites within 30 minutes of distribution.
  • Travel expert Peter Greenberg broadcast his weekly radio show and stand-ups for NBC’s “Today”, CNBC and MSNBC which reached more than 83 million viewers, as he stood in Hong Kong and said, “I’m not wearing a mask, and neither are the people you see around me. It’s safe to come back to Hong Kong.”
  • “Welcome back” press trip with 13 North America reporters generated positive newspaper coverage within two weeks.
  • Travel to Hong Kong grew 7.4% post-SARS (year over year).