Welcome to our new member – Hong Kong Free Tours
Interview with Michael Tsang, Founder
Tell us your story. How did Hong Kong Free Tours get started?
I was a typical finance guy. After working 12 years in the industry, it became clear to me that I could not stay in the job for 30 more years. Hence, I decided to quit and start this company. At first, the focus was more about touristy topics (i.e. history & heritage), but later, due to popular demand, we switched to focus on the uniqueness of Hong Kong and its relationship with China.
Now that there is the ongoing extradition bill protest in Hong Kong, it is more important than ever to tell this story from a local Hong Kong perspective.
What makes Hong Kong Free Tours different from your competitors?
No other tour operator in Hong Kong will tell you anything about the tense political situation in Hong Kong and the coffin/cage houses. We are here to tell you the Hong Kong stories behind the major attractions.
What is your favourite success story from your organisation?
In the three short years we’ve been in operation, we’ve had the privilege to be interviewed by different international media organisations. The New York Times, for example, showcased our tours as offering an insight into the lesser-known side of Hong Kong.
It is also very touching to hear from guests around the world who show their support for Hong Kong by writing to us. One of the most powerful comments we have received is that, thanks to the tours, a participant now understands more about the news that he reads and the complications between Hong Kong and China.
What can we expect to see from Hong Kong Free Tours in the future?
We will be offering tours in conjunction with local universities, tech companies and NGOs in Hong Kong to provide different experiences for group travellers to Hong Kong.
- Lecture on Hong Kong, One Country Two Systems relationship with China – then a tour about Hong Kong’s recent history and political conflict with China
- Lecture on Hong Kong as an international financial centre – then company visit to either the Central Bank/Stock Exchange or companies in Hong Kong
- A hike in Hong Kong to enjoy the beautiful nature – then a visit to the social enterprises who are making a difference in the city
Which trends do you see in educational and youth travel?
People are seeking to stay longer at a destination on an exchange programme or internship. Internships are becoming more important because they give students an edge in their resume and job hunting.
Study abroad travel will become more theme-based, with access to local universities and companies more important than visiting just the major attractions.
Individual travellers are using less tour services and more online resources – even for off the beaten path attractions.
How do you work to ensure the health and safety of young travellers involved with Hong Kong Free Tours?
We only allow our most experienced tour guides in the company to lead group tours. These guides are always on the road and very familiar with the neighbourhood where the tour is conducted.
Our guides are licensed, meaning that they have all passed the respective first aid training required by Hong Kong regulation.
There will always be a second person in the administration office to take care of an emergency situation. A protocol is set out to handle different emergencies.
What was your motivation to join WYSE Travel Confederation?
We would like to meet more schools and organisers from around the world.
There is a story behind each place we set foot on, each person we meet, and each culture we experience. We are the locals in Hong Kong who will share our Hong Kong stories with you.
The idea of Hong Kong Free Tours is to show you Hong Kong outside of the major attractions:
- What is the relationship between Hong Kong & China?
- How come Hong Kong is more unequal than Colombia & Rwanda?
We operate our company independent of other businesses & government organizations hence you can experience Hong Kong without any bias.
Membership: WYSE Travel Confederation Starter Member
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