3 Aug, 2023 – The School of Business and Management of The Hong Kong University of Science and Technology (HKUST Business School) today launched the Wisers-HKUST Tourism Index (Tourism Index) in collaboration with Wisers Information Limited (Wisers) in support of Hong Kong’s tourism growth following the resumption of normal travel between Hong Kong and the Mainland. As Hong Kong’s first forward-looking tourism index leveraging artificial intelligence (AI)-powered forecasts, the project will enable industry stakeholders to better gauge near-term tourism outlook for pre-emptive policy and business planning, thereby contributing to the tourism industry’s long-term development.
With a view to supporting forward-looking strategy development and planning by the industry and relevant agencies, the Tourism Index, a joint project between the School’s Center for Business and Social Analytics (CBSA) and Wisers’ Wisers AI, offers forecasts of key tourism metrics based on a predictive model of mainlanders’ intentions in traveling to Hong Kong. The model was constructed using leading-edge AI technologies, such as natural language processing and machine learning, to analyze over 10 million data points1 from social media platforms, online travel agencies, and travel forums in Mainland China.
The tourism industry faces a challenge in business planning, as key tourism statistics are available with a lag time. For instance, data for January is only accessible in March. To help address this issue, the Tourism Index provides forecasted values for crucial tourism metrics such as the overall tourism sector outlook, mainland visitors' arrivals, hotel occupancy, and hotel average daily rate. This forward-looking indicator offers a glimpse of the near-term sector outlook, and its forecast values for the current month and the next two months2 are publicly accessible.
To produce its forecasts, updated on the 10th each month, the Index makes reference to historical tourism statistics and over 20 travel-related influencing factors, including travel desire and sentiments captured from analyzing social/online media postings.
Senior Associate Dean of HKUST Business School and Director of CBSA Professor HUI Kai-Lung said, “Accounting for nearly 80% of visitor arrivals to Hong Kong, mainland visitors hold key to the revival of Hong Kong’s pandemic-hit travel sector. Working at the confluence of business and technology, our research team has put together a set of forward-looking indices showing near-term trends of key tourism metrics to support government agencies and the industry in devising pre-emptive tourism policies. Through this project with practical applications for the tourism sector, we also hope to demonstrate the potential of the fast-growing field of data analytics, and promote the wider use of big data technologies in the business community and beyond.”
CEO of Wisers and Advisor of CBSA Ms. Denise CHE explained, “Powered by Wisers’ extensive Chinese media database and automatic data processing platform, the predictive model underlying the Tourism Index analyzes massive volumes of text data collected by WisersOne from digital platforms frequently used by Chinese travelers, providing a systematic understanding of factors impacting Hong Kong’s tourism arrivals.”
Adjunct Associate Professor of HKUST Business School and Advisor of CBSA Dr. HE Chao noted, “Tourism is one of the four pillar industries in Hong Kong. To help the industry better respond to the fast-changing environment, we have constructed a series of predictive tourism indices. The Wisers-HKUST Tourism Index leverages big data text analytics for the first time to forecast Hong Kong tourism activity levels, overcoming the limitations of traditional surveys' limited insights and the delays in industry statistics.”
Commenting on the Tourism Index, Hong Kong Hotels Association (HKHA) Chairman, Mr. Peter WONG Chak-fung, said, “Marking a significant milestone for the tourism industry, this initiative underscores HKUST's and Wisers' dedication to innovation and the utilization of big data to generate crucial tourism indicators for economic and tourism recovery. HKHA understands the importance of accurate and insightful tourism indicators that can aid hotel operators in making informed decisions. We eagerly anticipate working together with two organizations to contribute to the sustainable growth and development of Hong Kong's hotel sector as well as smart city transformation.”
Wisers-HKUST Tourism Index comprises the Composite Index, and its three component indices, namely Visitor Arrivals Index, Hotel Occupancy Index, and Hotel Average Daily Rate Index, which are the weighted average of the Composite Index, with weights of 50%, 25%, and 25% respectively. The Index is available for viewing on the CBSA website at:
1. A data point refers to a post made on social media, online travel agencies, and travel forums
2. The Tourism Index’s forecasts for the period from Jan 2018 and Mar 2023 had an error rate as low as 4%, according to a study by a research team of CBSA and Wisers AI
About The Hong Kong University of Science and Technology
The Hong Kong University of Science and Technology (HKUST) (https://hkust.edu.hk/) is a world-class research intensive university that focuses on science, technology and business as well as humanities and social science. HKUST offers an international campus, and a holistic and interdisciplinary pedagogy to nurture well-rounded graduates with global vision, a strong entrepreneurial spirit and innovative thinking. Over 80% of our research work were rated “Internationally excellent” or “world leading” in the Research Assessment Exercise 2020 of Hong Kong’s University Grants Committee. We were ranked 2nd in Times Higher Education’s Young University Rankings 2023, and our graduates were ranked 30th worldwide and among the best from universities from Asia in Global Employability University Ranking and Survey 2022. As of early 2023, HKUST members have founded 1,645 active start-ups, including 9 Unicorns and 11 exits (IPO or M&A), generating economic impact worth over HK$400billion. InvestHK cited QS World University Rankings by Subject 2021 to demonstrate the performance of five world’s top 100 local universities in several innovation-centric areas, among which HKUST ranked top in four engineering and materials science subjects.
About the HKUST Business School
The School of Business and Management of The Hong Kong University of Science and Technology (HKUST Business School) is young, innovative and committed to advancing global business knowledge. The School has forged an international reputation for world class education programs and research performance, and has received many top global rankings. For more details about the School, please visit https://bm.hkust.edu.hk
About the Center for Business and Social Analytics
The Center for Business and Social Analytics (CBSA) is set up with the mission to study timely business and social problems by utilizing the big data available on the Internet. Our research is rooted in a broad range of data sources, including social media posts, publicity, user-generated content, user likes and follows, and other social, business, and interpersonal exchanges. We draw on the strengths of faculty and researchers from diverse disciplines such as business accounting and economics, information systems, decision analytics, finance, computer science, and humanities and social sciences. By leveraging a multidisciplinary approach, we aim to produce empirically-grounded research that can inform both business practice and public policy.
About Wisers Information Limited
Wisers, founded in Hong Kong in 1998, is a leading global expert in all media Big data intelligent business intelligence. Based on 23 years of massive media data accumulation and advanced artificial intelligence technology, Wisers provides innovative product services and solutions to over 3000 customers worldwide through scientific analysis and modeling. Wisers has always been committed to the commercial application of media Big data, helping enterprises and institutional customers improve brand value, optimize communication and marketing effects, strengthen reputation management, explore market intelligence, prevent commercial risks, and assist in strategic decision-making.
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