May 20, 2020

Airlines and travel agents in Hong Kong set for surge

Hong Kong
2 min
Airlines and travel agents in Hong Kong set for surge

Airlines and travel agents can expect online sales to soar in the days leading up to Chinese New Year and this year’s Golden Week festival, according to the latest data from Worldpay.

Last year, Worldpay recorded a 32 percent YoY increase in travel spending, as travellers from Hong Kong took advantage of the public holiday, spending more than ever, to travel internationally and locally visiting friends and families. Worldpay is predicting this number to increase again this year, as travellers get ready for two weeks of celebrations to welcome in the Year of the Rooster.

Analysis of 2016 card spending revealed the average value per transaction has also increased, with Asian travellers spending nearly 10 percent more than previous years. This suggests that as the purchasing power of the general public increases, holidaymakers are opting to travel further afield instead of the traditional destinations such as Singapore and Macau.

Commenting on the data, Phil Pomford, General Manager, APAC, Global eCom at Worldpay said: “As the Chinese New Year is seen in across the world, it looks as if the travel and tourism industry is set for another Golden Week ‘gold rush’. In recent years, we have witnessed a sharp increase in outbound Asian tourism, helped by the increasing spending power of travellers.

“With this in mind, travel agents and airlines need to plan ahead and be prepared for the surge in last-minute travel bookings. Offering special Golden Week sales and ensuring that checkout-pages are mobile-optimised could be a good way to bolster sales and help customers to pay the way they want to.”

One of the areas that has benefitted from the wider spread of Asian tourism is the UK, most likely thanks to the drop in value of the pound against the Hong Kong Dollar and more relaxed visa requirements. In fact the payments processor recorded an impressive 69 percent increase in spending on Hong Kong cards across the UK over the Christmas period.

Pomford added: “We are expecting the UK to be a very popular destination for the Golden Week holiday this year. In the UK, where in the wake of Brexit, London is much cheaper this year for Asian visitors[2], our data has shown that Hong Kong tourists are flocking to the UK to cash in on the weaker pound. And with the UK government, along with many others, continuing to relax visa restrictions, it is easier for Asian tourists to vacation further afield than ever before.”

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Jun 9, 2021

Q&A: Professor Loredana Padurean, Asia School of Business

Kate Birch
3 min
Teaching the MIT Sloan Executive Education program at Asia School of Business, Prof. Padurean talks innovation, smart skills and digital transformation

As someone who is creating Asia Pacific’s business leaders of the future, what do you believe are the essential skills leaders require?

In many ways, we need leaders who are Renaissance women/men or polymaths, as opposed to specialists of an industry or a field. A polymath is a person with profound knowledge, proficiency and expertise in multiple fields and today’s leaders have to be able to combine various ideas, look at problems in novel and useful ways, and develop a broad and yet still deep set of skills, talents, and knowledge.

You’ve coined ‘smart’ and ‘sharp’ as skills of the future. What are these?

They are replacements for ‘soft’ and ‘hard’ skills, a concept coined by a US Army doctor in 1972 who observed that his pupils had different skills: dealing with machinery required ‘hard’ skills, while dealing with people and paper were ‘soft’ skills. This concept has served us well since, but I find it too binary, not to mention the semantic implications of the words themselves.

Soft implies gentle, delicate, mild, quiet, tender, weak. However, there is nothing soft in navigating competing perspectives and cultures, handling and delivering critical feedback or dealing with office politics. Instead, I prefer to call these skills ‘smart’. Hard implies rigid, difficult, heavy, static. But how can we think of engineering or software development as static or rigid? I believe ‘sharp’ is more apt as such skills need constant updating or sharpening. 

I think it’s time to reflect on these classifications, because we can drastically change someone’s perspective by how we choose to talk about and frame something. 

How important are smart skills in leadership today?

Smart skills are more important than ever because we live in a world of extreme diversity: generational, ethical, value-based, gender, etc. Gone are the days when giving an order was an effective act of leadership. I personally work with people from five different continents and across five different generations, therefore as leaders, we need to know how to adapt, motivate, inspire and connect. We need to increase our investment in learning about them in action, especially as smart skills are more difficult to develop.

I believe that a successful leader today has to be both smart and sharp. Take cognitive readiness, one of my top 10 smart skills. In order to be cognitive ready, one has to master system dynamics, one of my top 10 sharp skills. Also, did you know that one of the primary reasons why digital transformation fails is not the absence of digital literacy, a sharp skill, but the need for more validation and adaptability, both smart skills. So, instead of thinking of these skills as binary, I prefer to think of them as the yin and yang; co-existing and complementing each other. 

So, you can teach leaders smart skills then?

Yes, you can, via a combination of the classroom experience, plus an action component supported by deeply embedded reflection. At ASB we call this Action Learning, and we teach it both in the MBA and in the executive programs. For example, in teaching a leader emotional maturity as a smart skill, first they need to learn what it is, and then act on it, before reflecting on what we did and how we did it. And then to repeat it, but this time with more expertise and awareness. It’s not easy, but that’s why my favourite mantra is ‘the job is easy, the people are not’. 

Discover Professor Padurean's successful skills for a digital transformation here


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